Christchurch City Council spent just over $3 million on legal fees to help settle its insurance claim, figures released to RNZ News show.
The payout of $600 million is the largest ever made in New Zealand, and covers damage to 1600 council buildings and facilities.
The figures show that $2.6 million of the bill was for services provided by local firm Markit Law.
The firm's principal, Tony Paterson, specialises in insurance law. In 1987 he gave advice on the payout for the Edgecumbe earthquake which was at the time the largest insurance payout ever made in New Zealand.
The latest payout is now in the council's bank account.
The council said it would reduce the necessity to borrow in order to pay for the city's rebuild.