Stevie Wonder, a child prodigy and now an elder Baby Boomer (he was born in 1950) is inspirational in many ways. His songs are full of life. He deserves credit for his creative genius, and he also deserves credit for this observation, "If you don't ask, you don't get."
Stevie's got good advice. We receive many calls from prospective clients about trust, estate and elder finance abuse litigation. Many callers pose questions that involve the availability of contingency fees. Questions vary: "I need a contingency lawyer;" "Do your payment options include a contingency fee?" "Would an attorney be able to take a case like this on contingency?" and "I need someone who will work on a contingency basis."
Hackard Law represents clients in California and we are subject to the statutory and ethical rules that govern attorney-client fee arrangements. Our attorney-client fee agreements must be in writing and conform to these rules.
A pure contingency fee arrangement generally means that the client pays fees to a lawyer only if the lawyer handles the case successfully. Given the risks associated with litigation, it is an economic reality that the amount at stake must be sufficiently large to justify the attorney's expenditure of time and expenses.
In trust and estate-related contingency fee arrangements, the attorney's percentage of recovery is negotiated between the client and the attorney. Fixed percentages - often 40% - are not uncommon.
If the case is won or otherwise resolved, the lawyer's fee comes out of the recovery. If the case is lost, neither the client nor the lawyer get any money, and the client will not be required to pay the lawyer for the work that was done on the case. The details of the representation regarding the advancement of costs and related issues must be addressed in the attorney-client fee agreement.
If you're a beneficiary and have a question on a contingency fee agreement in a trust lawsuit, don't be afraid to ask. At Hackard Law we represent clients throughout California, including in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Santa Clara, Alameda, and San Diego. Call us today at 916-313-3030. We'll be happy to listen to your story and answer your questions.