Contingent fee agreements explained

July 16th, 2013

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It’s not uncommon for attorneys to receive questions about billing and payment. This is especially true in our line of business where payment is dictated by a contingent fee arrangement. This is quite understandable; most of our clients at Dolce Panepinto, P.C., are working-class people with families. They know the importance of sticking to a budget, and they want to make sure they can afford the cost of litigation – particularly when medical bills and other expenses are accumulating. (Incidentally, clients who are trying to find ways to save money should take a look at the American Bar Association’s tips on reducing legal fees and expenses.)

So what is a contingent fee arrangement? A contingent fee arrangement is an agreement between an attorney and a client where the client agrees to pay the attorney a percentage of any money recovered through a favorable verdict or settlement. Under a continent fee arrangement, the attorney pays all the costs and absorbs all the expenses related to pursuing the lawsuit, including, but not limited to, filing fees; time spent conducting legal research, drafting and filing motions; negotiating settlements; preparing and trying the case; and expert witnesses.  If the attorney does not recover any money, then the client does not owe the attorney anything.

A contingent fee arrangement is a cost-effective way for a plaintiff to finance a lawsuit. At times it may actually be the only way to finance a lawsuit because a plaintiff might not otherwise be able to afford it.  After all, litigation can be very expensive and there are lawful tactics used by defendants and insurance companies to make the process take longer, thereby increasing the cost. Contingent fee arrangements are commonplace in personal injury cases such as automobile accidents and workplace injuries.

Dolce Panepinto, P.C., is happy to represent our clients on a contingent fee basis because our clients deserve the chance to have their day in court. Our clients have endured significant (and often expensive) hardship and don’t need the extra burden of trying to raise money to file a lawsuit. But the mere fact that we offer a contingent fee arrangement does not separate us from the competition. What does separate us is our decades of experience, our tireless work ethic, our commitment to representing working families, our strategic team approach to every case, and our proven results.

It is important for potential clients to understand the significance of slogans like “No Fee Guarantee.” It is simply a marketing tactic used to quickly explain the contingent fee arrangement, which is widely used by law firms all over the United States. There’s nothing wrong with describing a contingent fee arrangement that way. In fact, it is an accurate representation of the arrangement. But it should not be used to distinguish between law firms. We hope you choose us, not because of the contingent fee arrangement we offer, but because of our experience, work ethic, commitment, and proven results.

Image credit: Out.of.Focus on Flickr