There is Never A Fee Unless We Win Your Case
A question that runs through people's minds when they are thinking about hiring a lawyer is, "How will I pay for it all?" The answer, for most
cases, is to find a lawyer who will work on a contingency fee. What does a contingency fee mean? What are the benefits or detriments of this arrangement? Will I pay costs if I win or lose? These are all questions that we routinely answer for clients and will answer them below.
What does a contingency fee mean?
With this arrangement, rather than paying a flat or hourly rate to the attorney, the client agrees to pay the attorney a percentage of the total amount recovered in the case, if any. In other words, the fee to the attorney is "contingent" only if there is a recovery. Typically, fees range from 25% to 45% of the total recovery in the case. At Cohn & Swartzon, if there is no recovery, you will not owe any attorneys fees.
What are costs?
In addition to fees, most, if not all attorneys also charge for out of pocket costs (expenses) to prosecute the case. For example, attorneys need to gather records, file documents, meet with doctors, or retain expert witnesses. This obviously costs money. Some personal injury attorneys require clients to pay for these items up front or as the case moves along. However, Cohn & Swartzon will generally advance these costs and is then reimbursed at the end of the case, as long as there is a recovery. At Cohn & Swartzon, if there is no recovery, you will not owe any costs (expenses) incurred by the firm.
So, how does the contingent fee system impact the client?
First, it means that most lawyers are going to assess the risks of accepting a case carefully. Contrary to what you may hear in the media, the fact that a lawyer is going to be paid a percentage of any recovery actually discourages frivolous litigation. No lawyer in his or her right mind is going to take on a frivolous case and then work hundreds of hours on it for zero gain.
What are the benefits or detriments of this system?
The major benefit for the client is that they will be able to obtain legal representation without paying out of pocket or hourly costs of the attorney. For the client, the contingency fee is often the key to the courthouse. Because there is risk sharing, you can have a very experienced attorney represent you and not have to worry about the bill for legal fees. You will not receive a monthly fee statement, not have to pay a retainer fee or generally will not have to advance any costs up front. As a result, even those who don't think they can afford an attorney, are able to get the representation they deserve to help redress the wrongs committed by others.
At Cohn & Swartzon, we only take contingency fee cases because we believe in sharing the risk of taking on the case with our clients. How can you be sure that there is never a fee unless we win your case? Its written right into the client contingency contract:
ATTORNEY'S FEES: The Firm will only be compensated for legal services rendered if a recovery is obtained for Clients. IF THERE IS NO RECOVERY, CLIENTS ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO PAY FOR ANY ATTORNEY'S FEES INCURRED BY THE FIRM.