Lawyers have become clear beneficiaries of fights over the performance of closed-end funds and it is the shareholders of closed-end funds who are primarily paying for the lawyers' good fortunes.

The fairness of this has been disputed in proxy fights in recent months involving at least two closed-end funds: the Bull & Bear U.S. Government Securities Fund and the Emerging Germany Fund. Now, however, in a third dispute, the issue has taken on a new twist.

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