When you need a lawyer, understanding how attorneys charge fees is important so you know what to expect. The billing structure used by an attorney can impact both access to representation and incentives during a case. A Macon contingency lawyer can provide an alternative model with unique advantages in certain situations.
Contingency fees differ from hourly or flat-rate billing methods because the lawyer only earns payment under a contingency arrangement if the case successfully recovers compensation. However, contingency agreements motivate maximum effort and expand legal access. This fee structure does not solely benefit the lawyer; it opens the justice system to more people.
Comparing Contingency Fee Lawyers with Other Legal Fee Structures
Hourly lawyers get paid for time spent regardless of the outcome, even if they do not win the case. Contingency lawyers only get paid if the client wins compensation, so you do not have to worry about coming up with the money. Hourly billing is less risky for lawyers, while contingency motivates higher performance.
Contingency fee lawyers take on more risk than lawyers using a flat-fee pricing structure. Flat fees provide lawyers with a known price for defined work. Contingency fees depend on uncertain case results. However, contingency creates incentives to maximize rewards through settlements.
Contingency agreements better align the financial interests of the lawyer and client because both benefit from a larger settlement. Contingency fee lawyers have extra motivation to pursue the maximum possible compensation for their clients since their own payment depends on it. This shared incentive encourages the lawyer to fight aggressively on behalf of the client.
Get the strong arm
How Contingency Fees Do Not Just Benefit the Lawyer
Contingency fees allow greater access to the legal system for clients. Lower and middle-income clients can afford representation through contingency arrangements. Cases get decided on merits rather than upfront costs. More people can pursue valid claims and finally get the justice they deserve with more options than paying a large initial retainer fee.
Contingency fees are not just on the client as the lawyer takes the risk over with this payment option. Clients avoid paying attorney fees if their case does not succeed. Clients have less financial exposure through contingency fee models.
Contingency agreements align lawyer and client interests in obtaining maximum rewards. Both benefit from larger settlements, judging success the same. Contingency fees encourage lawyers to produce the best possible results.
When a Contingency Case Does Not Win
If a contingency fee case loses in court or gets dismissed, the lawyer receives no compensation. The client owes nothing for the lawyer’s time and expenses. The lawyer absorbed all costs spent pursuing the case, so this provides clients with protection from losing money on unsuccessful claims.
A contingency case that gets settled without a monetary payment also provides no fee for the lawyer. For example, if a case ends in an apology or changed policy, the lawyer earns nothing. Some non-monetary settlements still have value for clients but no contingency payout.
Contingency lawyers want to avoid investing time in claims that are unlikely to succeed. Recovering no fees can impact their business. Dismissals or settlements without payments are simply risks the lawyer must absorb.
Examples Using the Contingency Payment Structure
Personal injury attorneys often use contingency fee agreements. For example, a car accident victim with $100,000 in damages from the crash could hire a personal injury lawyer on a 33% contingency fee. If the lawyer secures a $150,000 settlement, their fee would be 33% of $150,000, which is $49,500.
Employment lawyers can use contingency fees for wrongful termination and discrimination claims. For instance, an employee fired based on their pregnancy could sue for pregnancy discrimination on a 40% contingency contract. If awarded a $50,000 settlement, the attorney would receive 40% or $20,000 as their fee.
An attorney can take on a product liability or consumer protection case and take class action suits against companies on a contingency fee basis. For example, customers wrongly charged excessive fees could sue a bank on a 30% contingency. If the class action secures a $5 million settlement, the lawyers will receive $1.5 million (30% of the total) distributed among the firm.
Questions to Ask When Considering a Contingency Fee Lawyer
Choosing the right contingency fee lawyer for your case is an important decision. You want an attorney who is experienced, motivated, and willing to fight all the way to trial if needed. Asking key questions upfront helps you evaluate prospective lawyers before committing so you know what, including some of the following:
- What percentage of your cases have been successful? The lawyer’s track record provides insight into their effectiveness. Higher success rates indicate stronger performance.
- What expenses will be deducted from any settlement or award? Costs for expert witnesses, filing fees, etc. should come out before the contingency fee.
- What is your process for screening cases before taking them on? Careful case screening shows diligence before investing time into claims.
- What similar cases have you handled successfully? Relevant experience proves expertise and capabilities in a given practice area.
- Do you have sufficient resources to take a case to trial if needed? A willingness to go to court shows commitment to clients.
The lawyer’s responses will help you assess their qualifications, motivations, and work style. Make sure you feel confident trusting them with your case before signing a contingency agreement. Vetting a lawyer properly on the front end can pay dividends throughout the case process.
Get the Justice You Deserve with a Contingency Fee Lawyer
Contingency agreements provide access to quality representation you can afford, and your lawyer gets paid only if you win compensation. Their payment comes as a percentage of your settlement or award. With no retainers or hourly fees required, you have nothing to lose and justice to gain.
Get in touch with us at John Foy & Associates for a free, no-obligation case review. Our compassionate lawyers will fight tirelessly for you. Schedule your free consultation with a contingency fee lawyer and see what steps you should take next.