July 8, 2011
Why the contingent fee?

Why the contingent fee?

Why the contingent fee? A contingent fee is a lawyers fee that is dependent on the outcome of the case. Often, the fee is calculated as a percentage of the recovery.

I prefer working on a contingent fee whenever possible. Why? Contingent fees reward results. Clients usually prefer the contingent fee too. No result, no fee. Nothing is more frustrating for a client than to suffer the delays and uncertainties of litigationand to pay a lawyer by the hour the entire time. Hourly fees provide an incentive to spend more time and to make a case take longer. (I dont do this even if I am required to work by the hour.) The contingent fee, on the other hand, provides an incentive for the lawyer to make the case move as quickly as possible and to obtain the best result possible for the client.

Can you imagine if your favorite professional golfer, race car driver, or boxer were paid by the hour for practicing, preparing, and competing? How about paying your real estate broker by the hour whether he or she sells the house or not? Well, that is how many lawyers charge to litigate.

To be clear, lawyers cannot legally charge a contingent fee on some cases such as criminal defense, divorce, or other domestic relations cases. (We only handle civil litigation.) And, sometimes, defending a civil case makes it difficult to work a fee based on the result.

Nonetheless, when possible, I prefer to offer a contingent fee arrangement to the client. Clients appreciate an attorney who is willing to bear some of the financial risk with them.

-Ethan Vessels