Some people are left with no choice but to hire a lawyer when facing certain situations. Lawyers are expensive and cost anywhere from $200 to $400 per hour in major cities.¹ The problem is whether you win or lose in court, you have to pay those fees. But with contingency lawyers, things are a bit different. You could end up saving hundreds of dollars in the event that a case does not rule in your favor. Search online to find a contingency lawyer in practice near you.
Since contingency lawyers handle payment in a less traditional way, there’s some important information you should know. An online search can tell you more about how these types of payment arrangements work.
Here’s what you need to know about contingency lawyers.
What is a Contingency Lawyer?
Typically, a lawyer will bill you a flat fee for their services or charge by the hour. Contingency lawyers work a little differently.
Contingency lawyers agree to work a client’s case in exchange for a percentage of the monetary damages they are awarded, should they win the case. But if the contingency lawyer loses the case, their client does not have to pay them for their work at all.
These types of lawyers are commonly hired to represent plaintiffs in complex civil cases, but they are not the only types. Other types of lawsuits where you can likely hire a contingency lawyer include:²
- Bankruptcy cases;
- Personal injury lawsuits;
- Professional malpractice disputes, and;
- Class action lawsuits.
The Benefits of Contingency Lawyers
Contingency agreements are beneficial for several reasons. Clients who might not be able to afford a lawyer will only have to pay in the event they actually win compensation. Anyone can hire a contingency lawyer since no up-front fees or other legal expenses are required right away.
Attorneys you pay up front and throughout the legal proceedings don’t have a personal stake in the case. Working on a contingency basis gives your lawyer that much more motivation to win your case.³ They don’t get paid unless you win, which means they will do everything possible to earn the compensation they’ve been working towards.
Lastly, a contingency attorney who chooses to represent you could mean that your claim has merit. They will look over the details carefully to determine whether or not you actually have a chance at winning. As much as you want to win the case, your lawyer doesn’t want to spend all their time advocating on your behalf if there’s little to no chance the outcome will rule in your favor.
How Much Do Contingency Lawyers Charge?
In the event you win the case, it will be time to pay your contingency lawyer. NOLO says the average a lawyer will take is 33 to 40 percent.⁴
Legal Match explains how there are several factors that can determine the percentage a lawyer takes, such as the client’s chance of winning. They will take into account the complexity of the case and how long it could take for the matter to be resolved. A lawyer’s level of experience and reputation is another factor that can make the percentage on the lower or higher end of the spectrum.
Keep in mind that you may also be responsible for paying other costs such as filing, service and expert fees. This is something you’ll have to discuss beforehand with your lawyer. You’ll want to know exactly how much will be taken from your settlement if you end up winning.
How to Find a Contingency Attorney
Not all attorneys or law offices offer contingency fee arrangements. A search online will help you discover professionals near you that offer this type of payment.
Many attorneys will offer free consultations. These meetings are worth taking advantage of. You can use that time to get to know the attorney and what it would be like working with them. Treat it like an interview and see if they can give you an estimate on the percentage they will take if they were to pursue your case and win.
Before hiring an attorney, find out how many cases they’ve won similar to yours.⁵ Ask for references so you can talk to past clients about their experience. Find out how available your lawyer will be throughout the process. Things like this will give you an idea of whether you can rely on them throughout your lawsuit.