Why Contingent Fees are a Good Thing.
A Contingent fee means the attorney agrees to be paid out of the proceeds of the client’s claim. In other words, the attorney takes a percentage of the proceeds to compensate him/her for their time. It is offered in lieu of the normal hourly fees, due each month or quarter, requiring that the client shoulder the risks, alone, with no guarantee any fees will be recouped.
The contingent fee provides the key to America’s courtroom for thousands who otherwise could not afford to pay a lawyer up-front, if at all. If it were not for contingent fees, indigent victims of wrongful accidents and wrongful conduct would be subject to the unbridled, self-serving conduct of the at-fault party and meager sums in settlement of large losses so the victim can “keep the candle burning” in himself and his dependents.
Second, the contingent fee aligns the interests of the lawyer and client. The lawyer gains only to the extent his client gains. And if the client loses, the lawyer loses. It is classic “risk-reward” founded in capitalism, the same capitalism enjoyed by so-called “tort-reformers”, e.g. The Common Good, who seek to eliminate this sort of risk-sharing arrangement by lobbying your legislators and Supreme Courts.
Lastly, it allows the attorney discretion to adjust the fees to “fit the outcome.” Hourly fees are paid as the case progresses (and has anyone ever received a refund from an hourly lawyer?).
Our Firm takes a fair and innovative approach to the contingent fee. We offer reduced contingent fees when the facts of the case, after initial investigation, tells us our total time, in our best estimate, will be significantly less than the amount of time typically assumed in the normal contingent fee percentage. And, we always re-examine our contingent fee at the conclusion of the case to make sure it is reasonable and fair to our client. In sum, we want you to walk away “happy”.
See, “Why The Billable Hour Must Die”, tedmorganlaw.com, “Articles and Opinions.”
See, “Blame it on the Bee Gees,” TRIAL, July 2007, Vol. 43, No.7. A similar attack was adopted by the Florida Medical Association which successfully proposed a “cap” on contingent fees to discourage trial attorneys from being able to take cases which are otherwise financially feasible.