BP settlement architects hope to win over skeptics

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The deal is all but done. Now it's time to sell it.

Days after they announced a multibillion-dollar settlement, BP PLC and a committee of plaintiffs' attorneys are working out details of an agreement to resolve more than 100,000 claims spawned by the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

They must persuade a federal judge that the settlement is fair and equitable, but the sales job doesn't end there because the deal already has its critics.

Some attorneys who didn't participate in the settlement talks but represent thousands of plaintiffs question whether the court-supervised claims process offers a better bargain for their clients than the $20 billion compensation fund BP established in 2010. They can urge their clients not to participate in the settlement, though pursuing a claim separately in court could involve years of costly litigation.

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Associated Press writers Nedra Pickler in Washington and Harry R. Weber in Atlanta contributed to this report.