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Do Labor And Employment Lawyers Work For Contingency



In today’s competitive legal environment, lawyers and law firms are more willing than in the past to be flexible and accommodating in their billing arrangements with individual and business clients. The economic downturn has mandated such flexibility and accommodation in some markets and practice areas. That said, labor and employment lawyers don't typically work for contingency fees. This does not mean that this billing arrangement is prohibited, however.

What Are Contingency Fee Billing Arrangements

In some types of legal cases, attorneys are willing to work on a contingency fee basis or fee arrangement. This means that the attorney agrees upfront to accept no fee from the client. Instead, the lawyer receives a percentage of the ultimate settlement or financial judgment the client obtains at the conclusion of the case. Usually, that percentage is suggested or defined by the lawyer in his or her retainer or engagement agreement. On average, contingency fees range from 30 to 40 percent recovery for the attorney.

Which Legal Areas Typically Use Contingency Fee Billing Arrangements

Contingency fee billing arrangements are more common for a plaintiff’s counsel. This occurs because individual litigants are often less able to pay the hefty costs associated with litigation as they accrue. On the other hand, business clients, who are usually defendants, are often more able to pay their legal fees on an hourly basis as they are incurred.

The legal fields in which contingency fees are often used include automobile and accident litigation, medical malpractice and personal injury. On occasion, contingency fee billing arrangements are also used for high-volume debt collection work, such as for a municipality or corporate client.

Limitations On Contingency Fee Billing Arrangements

Courts often establish limits and boundaries on contingency fee billing arrangements. These limits frequently cap the percentage of recovery the attorney can obtain from a client’s settlement or award. In instances where less than a one-third recovery is sought by the attorney pursuant to a contingency fee billing arrangement, the lawyer and client are able negotiate on their own, without court or other legal intervention. Courts and state laws often prohibit the use of contingency fee billing arrangements in divorce, criminal and child-custody cases as a matter of public policy.