What is a fee agreement?

While there are many reasons to go to court most of them have a financial component, particularly in civil cases. Not only is money important in the outcome of many cases, so are the fees that a lawyer charges for his or her services.

One variety of legal malpractice involves the client misunderstanding how to pay their lawyer. Having a clear understanding of payment is important whether the lawyer is on retainer or the lawyer expects a contingency payment. According to Findlaw, in contingency fee cases it is vital that the lawyer provide written fee agreements in advance of a case.

How do contingency fee cases work?

In a contingency fee case, the only payment the lawyer receives is if the case is successful. Usually, these cases revolve around workers’ compensation or personal injury. This type of arrangement is not used in criminal law.

In this fee arrangement, the lawyer agrees to accept a certain portion of the recovery following a successful case. Usually, a contingency fee will be around a third of the recovery. In the event that the lawyer is not successful, neither the client nor the lawyer received money. However, the client is still responsible for court filing fees and other charges.

What happens if we disagree?

Ideally, there is no room for dispute regarding contingency fees because the lawyer has provided a written agreement prior to taking the case to court. If there is no written agreement, and you are having a dispute about this with your lawyer then you may need to file for legal malpractice against the lawyer.