How Do Contingency Lawyer Fees Work?

Legal fees are expensive and not everyone can afford the cost of a lawyer to represent them. This is why some lawyers offer their services on a contingency basis. But what is contingency and how does it work?

What is Contingency?

When a lawyer works on contingency, you will not be required to pay any lawyer’s fees upfront (retainer) or be billed for their services. If the lawyer loses the case and you are not awarded any monetary settlement, your lawyer will not be paid anything for their services. If they win, they will take a percentage of the settlement amount to cover their legal fees.

What Percentage Of The Settlement Will Your Lawyer Take?

Generally, lawyers will take 2/3rds of the settlement amount or 33.3%. However, they can take anywhere between 25% and 40% depending on the contract that you sign with them. It is important to ensure that your settlement will provide for additional expenses as well as the actual costs that you are claiming for when hiring a lawyer on contingency so that you aren’t out of pocket when the case is settled.

Does Contingency Mean You Pay Nothing If You Lose?

Not necessarily. You may still have to pay for any expenses over and above the lawyers’ fees. These costs could include court fees, printing and mailing fees, fees for expert witnesses, fees for investigating the case, etc. It is important to read the fine print on your contract carefully to be aware of the fees that you will be responsible for paying whether you win or lose.

What Are The Benefits Of Contingency?

The most obvious benefit is that it gives those who do not have the money to hire a lawyer access to expert legal services at no upfront cost. Another benefit is that the lawyer will assess each case carefully before taking it on to determine the likelihood of success. The more likely your claim is to be successful, the more likely it will be that a contingency lawyer will represent you. After all, it is in their best interests to only take cases that will succeed as their payment is contingent on winning the case.

It is very important to understand that contingency does not mean that you are getting a lawyer for free. Payment of lawyers fees is dependent on winning the case and you will still have to pay for any additional costs related to the case.