Contingency Fee Lawyers

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What Is a Lawyer or Attorney Contingency Fee?

This means that your lawyer’s fee is based on a percentage of the amount you may win in a case. If you lose the case the lawyer doesn’t get a fee, however you will still have to pay costs. Sometimes the judge orders the one who lost a case to pay the winning side’s costs. From your point of view a contingency fee is a good idea when your lawyer is taking a big risk, and not so good when your case is relatively clear-cut.

How much Is the Contingency Fee?

The percentage of the fee varies. Commonly the fee is 1/3 of what you recover. Some lawyers offer a sliding percentage scale depending on how far the case goes before it’s settled. If you agree to a contingency fee you should found out if your lawyer calculates the fee before or after the expenses.

Can the Percentage or the Amount be Limited or Lowered by a Judge?

Courts sometimes set a limit on the amount lawyers charge in contingency fees. The fee can be lowered if it is seen as unfair or unreasonable. 

Should I Ask for the Bill Every Month?

Even though you won’t pay expenses until the case is settled with a contingency fee, it is good to keep track of the costs. You should ask to have your bill sent to you on a regular basis.  

When Is a Contingency Fee allowed?

This type of fee is allowed and usually found in:

When Is a Contingency Fee Not Allowed?

In certain cases a lawyer is prohibited from charging a contingency fee. There are some variations between states, but below are the kinds of cases where such a fee is generally prohibited:

Should the Fee Agreement Be in Writing?

Yes, always obtain proof in writing of the agreement and its specifics that you have agreed on with your attorney.

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Last Modified: 06-19-2014 10:13 AM PDT

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