From the Desk of Lenden Webb
A Revised Video-to-Audio Transcription
Clients have often asked me about contingency cases versus hourly cases. There is something that I firmly believe in because there are risks in both hourly cases and contingency cases.
In hourly cases, you have a risk of the attorney (and I’ve seen it time and time again) billing by the hour and they’re racking up a legal fee that is just going to pad their budget. In the contingency cases, there’s a risk with clients because sometimes clients are not telling their attorney all of the skeletons that are in their closet.
An attorney and their staff may do diligent work on a case only to find out that there is a fatal flaw in their client’s defense or offense far too late down the road. At this point, the law firm has risked their livelihood in order to prosecute or defend the matter to no avail. So those are concerns on both the contingency side with unscrupulous clients and on the hourly side with some unscrupulous attorneys.
In my mind, from a plaintiff’s point of view and a plaintiff’s point of view only, you can choose to do a hybrid of the two. This works out fairly well for many of our clients, were the client pays a percentage of our hourly rate and the firm has an interest in the outcome.
In this relationship, in my mind, there is a truly mutual relationship where the client has a vested interest and the attorney has a vested interest. There’s skin in the game from both sides to make something work and to make it work as quickly and be as rewarding as possible.
This is something that I think is underutilized in the legal industry, and as long as you’re a plaintiff or you’re a defendant seeking a recovery in a cross-complaint, this can be a very meaningful and sensible way to draft an engagement letter and have a fee agreement.
- “There are risks in both hourly and contingency cases.”
- “From a plaintiff’s point of view, you can choose to do a hybrid of the two, where the client pays a percentage of our hourly rate and the firm has an interest in the outcome.”
- “With this approach, there is a mutualistic relationship where the client has a vested interest and the attorney has a vested interest.”
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