Contingent Fees

Most of my personal injury clients hire me on a contingent fee.  That means that I am not paid for my services until and unless I am able to get my client paid for his or her losses.

Paying for legal services only if you win is a modern concept.  We frequently hear the argument that being able to hire a lawyer on that basis fosters lawsuits.  I believe that that is true.

There probably would be fewer lawsuits in a world where only clients who have the means to fund a lawsuit could receive legal services.  Those of limited means who are injured by the negligence of others would just have to suck it up.

I would not like that.  True, it hurts when a case goes bad and I do not get paid.  It costs my office at least $20,000 to $30,000 in my time to try a simple case.  But I like helping people who cannot help themselves.  I like the fact that a person of modest means can have the same shot at justice as the rich guy.  I also like not asking my client to pay for my work until after I have gotten him or her paid.

There will always be an interest group complaining about contingent fees.  There is nothing wrong with protecting your own interests.  I just think there is a net gain for us all by leveling the playing field of justice.

By:  Peter G. Webb

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