I gotta agree with Judge Milan Smith in this one. Junior associates at Irell typically don't have "sufficiently distinctive skills" to justfiy an enhanced award under the EAJA. And I say that having known a lot of junior associates at Irell.
Which is not to say that these people are only worth the statutory cap of $125/hour. Far from it. But, right or wrong, that's what the statute pays.
P.S. - I also agree with Judge Smith that the senior partner at Irell, as well as the junior people at the NRDC, indeed had the requisite distinctive skills. All true.