A contingency fee agreement is an arrangement in which a lawyer is only paid if he wins his client's case. Typically, the fee agreement will set out a percentage of the settlement amount that will be paid to the attorney on successful completion of the case. Attorneys will generally only work on contingency when there is a situation involving a substantial amount of money. Charging on a contingency basis is only allowed in civil law -- lawyers may not take criminal cases on contingency. Hiring an attorney on contingency can help low-income clients afford representation.
Contact your state Bar Association. It can provide you with a list of attorneys specializing in the area of law you need located in your area.
Consult a directory of attorneys in your location that specialize in the area of law you need. Your state trial lawyers association can provide you with a list of personal injury attorneys. The local chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association can give you a list of employment lawyers in your state.
Use a legal matching service. Services such as Case Post and Injury Helpline match clients with lawyers who meet their needs. These services are free and are offered online and over the telephone.
Contact several attorneys who meet your needs for area of specialization and location. Tell them that you are seeking representation on a contingency basis and would like to discuss your case. If the attorney is willing to represent you on a contingency basis, she will generally offer a free consultation. In general, contingency attorneys will only take a case if they think there is a reasonable chance of winning.
Decide which attorney will best meet your needs. He should be confident that you have a case and be experienced in handling similar cases.
Sign a contingency fee agreement with your lawyer. Most agreements will require you to pay some legal expenses, such as filing fees and transcribing costs, even if you do not win the case. You can negotiate the terms of the agreement. Do not sign unless you are happy with the arrangement.
Tips & Warnings
- Some attorneys who do not explicitly advertise as “no win no fee” attorneys will sometimes work on a contingency basis. You should always ask if the attorney is willing to take your case on a contingency basis.
References & Resources
- All Business: Where Can I Find an Attorney Who Will Work on Contingency?
- FindLaw: Types of Legal Fees
- American Bar Association: State & Local Bar Associations
- American Association for Justice: State Trial Lawyer Associations
- National Employment Lawyers Association: Find a Lawyer
- Martindale Hubbell: Find Lawyers and Law Firms
- Case Post
- Injury Helpline
- Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images