Many people experiencing workplace conflict will hesitate to contact a lawyer because they’re afraid of the cost. This apprehension is understandable, but many of our potential clients don’t realize lawyers sometimes work on a contingency fee basis, meaning clients won’t have to pay any fees unless they win their case.
What is a contingency fee?
A contingency fee agreement stipulates that the lawyer’s fee is contingent on recovering money for the client. The lawyer then receives a fee from the amount awarded to the client (either a percentage of the recovery or an agreed upon hourly rate).
In other words, if the lawyer does not recover money for the client, the client is not obligated to pay the lawyer any fees, but may still be required to pay court filing fees or other similar charges.
Advantages of contingency
The obvious advantage for clients is that those who could not otherwise afford to hire a lawyer can still pursue meritorious claims. Again, if you don’t win your case, you won’t owe for your attorney’s services. Contingency fees are typically paid directly out of the recovery at the end of the case, rather than paid upfront.
Losing the case means your lawyer won’t collect any fees, and therefore, your lawyer will be motivated to work as hard as possible to ensure the results are in your favor.
Are there disadvantages to contingency?
There can be some disadvantages associated with contingency fees.
Paying your lawyer on a contingency basis means your attorney will receive the agreed upon percentage of the recovery regardless how long it takes or how much time is required to resolve the case. In the instance of a quick resolution, contingency fees will typically be greater than hourly fees, had the attorney been paid an hourly rate.
Another disadvantage of contingency fees is that attorneys may be very selective when determining which cases to accept. If your lawyer determines there is a high probability of losing the case, he or she may avoid the case entirely.
So how do I hire a lawyer on contingency?
Simply ask your lawyer if he or she will work on a contingency basis. Many lawyers are open to negotiation when it comes to payment. Be aware, however, that lawyers tend to accept contingency terms only when your case has a strong chance of success.
If you’re experiencing legal trouble and you need an attorney — or if you have any questions about billing or contingency fees — contact Meyers Law Firm online or call us in the Kansas City area at (816) 994-3240. Our team comprises experienced trial attorneys who focus on employment law, consumer law, and personal injury cases. If you’ve been injured because of someone else’s neglect or treated unfairly by an employer, our attorneys can help. And don’t be afraid to ask our attorneys about working on a contingency basis!