Commentary: Gavel to Gavel: Fee Agreements

By Hamby, Mark | THE JOURNAL RECORD, April 3, 2008 | Go to article overview

Commentary: Gavel to Gavel: Fee Agreements


Hamby, Mark, THE JOURNAL RECORD


When an attorney accepts a large tort case in which the defendant is covered by insurance or is a large self-insured corporate entity, the attorneys for the plaintiff and those for the defendants are generally paid under different types of fee agreements. The plaintiff's attorney traditionally enters into a contingency fee agreement with his client whereby he or she will not receive any fees until and unless the claim is resolved in favor of the client. Often the plaintiff's attorney will have to wait months or years to get paid, essentially working without pay until the case settles or there is a favorable judgment. Tort cases provide the traditional scenario for contingency fee agreements and are the cases most attorneys and most members of the public associate with contingency fees, even though contingency fees are only prohibited in certain domestic relations and criminal matters.

The theory behind contingency fees is that these types of cases cost a lot in resources and attorney time and most members of the general public don't have the financial resources necessary to independently finance these lawsuits. Sometimes they can afford the expenses in the case, but rarely can they afford to pay their attorneys by the hour for all of the time expended. But for the willingness of an attorney to accept the case on a contingency fee agreement, the victim of the tort might go uncompensated. Sometimes these types of cases represent a very large potential attorney fee to the plaintiff's attorney, who therefore has a clear incentive to get the case resolved in his client's favor as expeditiously as possible. Waiting to be paid, however, provides as strong a disincentive to take such a case, because waiting to get paid for a year or more can create a significant financial hardship for a practicing attorney, all with no guarantee of ever being paid.

The defendant's attorney in such a case rarely works on a contingency fee agreement and instead is paid by the hour. In long and contentious cases, the fees paid to the defense attorneys can far exceed the amount the plaintiffs recover or even seek to recover. In such a case, has the defendant really been cost- effectively represented? The defense attorney will quickly point out that settling such cases, large or small, sets a bad precedent and will only encourage frivolous claims from other claimants. Other potential claimants, the theory goes, would see the defendant as an easy mark and the frivolous claims would multiply. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Commentary: Gavel to Gavel: Fee Agreements
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.