OK. You were offered $30,000.00, you have no money, and no written business agreements or contracts. An attorney working for you on an hourly rate, needs to be paid up front. An attorney who takes this matter on a contingency cannot earn money for the lawsuit or representation, without recovering substantially more money than the $30,000 offered to you. Even were the attorney to gain double that amount in a settlement the first $30000.00 would be immune from a portion of the fee (the client says "you did not earn a fee for that amount, I had that offered to me before meeting you...") and to make money on the excess above $30,000.00 would require a percentage fee arrangement that may be confiscatory and illegal. At a one-third contingency, the lawyer would earn $10,000. If the attorney ordinarily charges $500 per hour, the lawyer cannot invest more than 20 hours in the entire matter before representing you proves costly and not attractive to the attorney.