Contingency Fees

The contingent fee is the most common form of payment arrangement for plaintiffs seeking representation in personal injury litigation. Instead of billing the plaintiff on an hourly basis, the attorney is entitled to a percentage of the settlement or trial award, usually in the amount of one-third. If the plaintiff does not receive any compensation for damages, the attorney receives nothing. Contingent fees are not allowed in criminal matters and rarely permitted in family law cases. Over the years, the general contingent fee has been maligned by corporate America and by special interests such as the American Medical Association (AMA) and conservative think tanks such as the Manhattan Institute. It is no accident that the contingent fee is a prime target of groups seeking to limit the rights of injured victims. There is no more effective way to undermine our jury system. Eliminating the contingent fee would effectively strip the "keys to the courthouse" from the average citizen.