Who is winning the NBA lockout? The lawyers.

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The players are not winning the lockout, they are giving back and are still faced with being asked to give a lot more or not get paid. The owners are not winning the lockout, they are cutting off their nose to spite their face, killing the momentum the league had generated to get a financial system in place to protect them from themselves. The fans and employees who depend on the league are the biggest losers of all.

But the lawyers are winning. Yea!

AMLaw Daily was able to find out what National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) has spent on outside lawyers in the five years heading into this one and the lockout (great find by Zach Lowe of Sports Illustrated’s Point Forward.

All told, the NBPA spent some $2 million on outside legal advisers during the years in question, a period of relative labor peace that followed the implementation in July 2005 of the league’s most recent collective bargaining agreement….

Dewey & LeBoeuf, whose global litigation chair Jeffrey Kessler serves as lead outside counsel to the NBPA in its current labor negotiations, has earned nearly $1.1 million in fees in connection with its union work from July 2005 through June 2010.

Much of that billing came in 2005, right after the last Collective Bargaining Agreement was negotiated — and that was one that went relatively smoothly and without a lockout. Kessler is the attorney advising Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter (who is also an attorney) this time around. And yes, the union has a handful of in-house lawyers as well.

While we don’t know the numbers, the same dynamics are happening on the league’s side of the table as well. It should be noted Commissioner David Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver are attorneys as well.