A frequent question I am asked by clients new to The Colvin Law Firm is why most attorneys take 33% (or 40% if it goes to trial) of the client’s settlement or judgment. Of course, I immediately explain that under the Reduced Attorney Fee Program at The Colvin Law Firm, we never take more than a 25% fee. Most clients are appreciative of the significant discount, but inevitably may think that even that is too much.
So, why the large fee? As I discussed in a previous blog post, getting to trial is liable to take well over one year. During that time, there will be numerous motions, hearings, court appearances, and significant amounts of research being conducted. And that is just what occurs prior to trial. Not to mention the amount of time that will be necessary for an effective trial preparation. Defense firms usually bill their corporate defendant clients by the hour. And it is not unusual for a good attorney to charge over $700 per hour for their defense work. We plaintiff’s attorneys, however, usually are paid only if we are successful. So since we are putting forth all of our time and effort, we take a contingent fee to recoup the time that we spent on the case. Sometimes the contingency fee covers what we would have made had we charged an hourly rate for the case and sometimes it doesn’t. But I am sure that there are a large number of attorneys who would be more than willing to take every plaintiff’s case at their normal billable hours, payable in advance, by a frequently replenishing retainer.