Whether the $1 million was a good investment depends on where you stand.
Mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald argues that the city can't afford the firefighters' arbitration award, which includes three years of 3 percent raises and more money for health-care benefits.
He says that the appeal ultimately will be successful, and therefore will save taxpayers money.
"We need to be very careful in defending the taxpayers' purse as we seek to provide services in the city and pay hardworking city employees for the work that they do," says McDonald.
On the other side of the debate is Bill Gault, president of the firefighters union. He calls the legal fees a "waste" of taxpayer dollars.
The city's two fiscal watchdogs also question the thinking behind spending money on another appeal.
An arbitration panel originally issued an award for firefighters in 2010. The city appealed that. Both groups then agreed to send the award back to an arbitrator, which returned it with similar terms.
Cue another appeal by the city. Afterward, a Common Pleas judge upheld the award. The city promptly appealed again last month.
Given that history, City Controller Alan Butkovitz says Nutter is throwing good money after bad. He believes that the city most likely will be forced to pay for the award in the future.
"Then what happens?" Butkovitz asks. "Do they hit the people of Philadelphia with a supercharged tax increase to pay a bill that everybody saw coming down the road?"
Sam Katz, chairman of fiscal overseer Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, is also skeptical about the city's chances. He says that the legal fees are "a heck of a lot of money for a city that has so little."
Holly Otterbein writes for It's Our Money, a joint project of the Daily News and WHYY funded by the William Penn Foundation, that works to shed light on where your tax dollars are going.