Know Your rights will be a bimonthly newsletter that is published through the State Bar of Wisconsin. The column is written by the individuals from the State Bar’s Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) that provides Wisconsin residents with access to lawyers across the state. Find out more on wislaw.org.
By Atty. Robert J. Kasieta
Legal advertisements offer customers services on a contingent basis. What exactly is an “contingency fee” and do you think it’s a great deal to the client?
Contingency fees are those where both the lawyer and client have agreed that the attorney’s fee will be a portion from the total proceeds generated by the matter. However much the work that the lawyer is doing on the case, the cost cannot exceed the amount agreed to be a percentage of the amount that is recovered. It is the same regardless of whether the matter is settled or goes to trial (although this percentage could be lower if the case is settled prior to trial).
Advantages of Contingency Fee Contracts
The benefit of contingency fees agreements is that clients is never charged charges from the lawyer. After a case has been settled it, the client is issued an amount of money, which will be reduced by the percentage agreed upon of legal costs and costs. In the event that the case goes to trial and the plaintiff wins, the client is charged the attorney no fees. If it is a contingency fee that is pure attorney only gets paid if the client is reimbursed. The client does not need to think about paying lawyers using client funds. This can be particularly beneficial following an accident when the person is stressed about medical expenses and loss of earnings and may not be able to pay legal costs.
A further benefit of using contingency fee is that both the lawyer and client share when it comes to the case. Client and lawyer both gain in the event that the case proceeds smoothly. Lawyers only win if the client is successful. Whatever time staff and lawyers invest in the case the cost of representation will never rise.
Hybrid Fee Contracts
Some lawyers will offer the option of a hybrid agreement. They will be charged an hourly rate up until a specific point in the case, and after that fees will change to a contingencybasis, which will allow the client to receive credit for the hourly fee already paid. This could appeal for the client if there’s a reasonable belief that a settlement will be quick.
Find out whether an Fee Agreement is the right choice for you
If you’re victimized in a collision Here are some crucial concerns to inquire about when you hire an attorney:
- Does the lawyer provide an arrangement for contingency?
- Do you have graded percentages? For instance, 25% in the event that the case is settled pre-suit 33% if the matter is brought to court or when the case is brought to decision?
- If the matter is in the process of reaching a settlement, would it be more sense to engage the attorney for the hourly or on a hybrid basis?
- What is the method of handling costs – are the costs calculated prior to or after the costs have been repaid?
- Could I have an exact illustration of how the contingency plan would function?
If your case settles swiftly and your attorney hasn’t spent in preparing for the trial and has a good track record, they could make a significant profits. Lawyers also have to take risks when the case demands an enormous amount of effort for a an agreement or a conclusion, or if it is unsuccessful the lawyer may lose money in the matter.
Ethics rules for lawyers mandate that agreements for contingency fees to be signed in writing. The regulations do not specify the amount to be charged or any other terms specific to the case. However, there are some rules which are fairly uniform. Most of the time, the proportion for the attorney’s fee is one-third.
In most cases, the fee can be increased to 40% in the event that there’s an appeal. (Appeals occur rarely, but they are a significant amount of work for the lawyer which is why they are rewarded with being charged a greater amount.)
In general, the attorney will pay for all costs associated with litigation (filing fees and court reporter fees expert fees, court reporter fees, other similar expenses) and only recover the funds when the litigation is settled by a defendant.
Robert J. Kasieta is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Kasieta Legal Group, LLC situated located in Madison. The practice of his firm focuses on personal injury, civil litigation civil rights, the law of discrimination and business as well as employment law. He is a part of the State Bar of Wisconsin Lawyer Referral and Information Service, that helps residents couple with attorneys throughout Wisconsin. Find out more about the service on wislaw.org.