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Are there any limits on what an attorney can charge a minor in a contingency fee agreement?

Los Angeles, CA |

My son had a personal injury and my wife and I engaged an attorney on a contingency basis at 1/3. They never filed a lawsuit but got an offer we want to accept but it seems that 1/3 is high given that the amount of work wasn't that great. The offer is 3 million of which they want one million.

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Attorney answers 4

Posted

Many lawyers don't have these high fees. A reasonable fee is less than 30%. Don't get hurt twice. You can find a top-rated Avvo attorney in your city with a low fee, and fees are listed on Avvo profile pages.

Christine C McCall

Christine C McCall

Posted

Wouldn't it be a little late to be starting over with new counsel at this point, given the stage of proceedings reported by the asker? Hard to see any economic benefit to the client at this point.

Edward R. Yaghoubi

Edward R. Yaghoubi

Posted

In California, a retainer for a Minor cannot exceed 25%. You will notice when they attempt to get the minor's compromise approved, (of which, every case that involves a minor and the settlement is above $5k must do so) the judge will reject any attorneys fees above that percentage.

Posted

Any attorney's fee in compromise of a minor's claim in CA must be approved by the probate court and the minor's funds must be placed in a blocked account or an annuity purchased as approved by the court. Withdrawals for the benefit of the minor are only with court approval. Generally, attorney's fees are limited by local court rules to 25% and may be less depending on the exact facts. BTW, a $3M settlement is not paid lightly. I bet your attorneys earned every dollar of their contingency fee.

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Posted

My experience is that we are limited to 25 percent. You may check with the California Bar at: calbar.org
Best of luck

This answer is provided by California Accident Attorney Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., 510-206-4492. Abogado de Accidentes de Autos de California: 510-206-4492. Abogado de Lesiones de Accidentes de Autos, provides answers of a general context. These answers are not intended to form an attorney client relationship. Oakland Abogado Accidentes Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Accidentes de carros, Abogado de accidentes de Peatones, practices in Antioch, Berkeley, Concord, Oakland, Hayward, Martinez, Newark, Richmond, San Francisco and San Rafael. El abogado de lesiones y heridos en accidentes de autos, is licensed only in California. This information is good only in California and it is not to be taken as legal advice on car accidents, personal injury, divorce, bankruptcy or in any other type of situation. Esta respuesta es del Abogado de Accidentes de Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Heridos en Accidentes de carros, Manuel A. Juárez, 510-206-4492. Abogado Hispano de Accidentes, Abogado de Divorcios, Abogado Latino de Accidentes, Abogado de Accidentes de Oakland, Hayward, San Francisco, California. Estas respuesta son solo para información general y no consisten en consejo legal sobre divorcios, mantención de esposas, mantención de hijos o bancarrotas. Las respuestas son comentarios legales que no forman una relación de abogado y cliente. Manuel Juarez, Esq., esta licenciado solo en el Estado de California.

Posted

attorney fees are no longer limited to 25%, but as generally applied by the Courts it still works that way. This matter will need to be submitted to the Court through a Petition to Compromise a minor's claim. In that petition the attorney will request their fee and will be required to set forth in a declaration all the work they did on the case to justify the fee. You need to sign off on that petition and appear in court on the hearing to approve the petition - So you hold significant power at this point to negotiate down the fee. I will say that $3 million dollar settlements do not come easy and it is very likely your attorney did a lot more work than you realize. But now is the time to sit down with the attorney and figure out a fair fee request. Just because you signed the fee agreement does not automatically mean the attorney will be able to recover that amount of fee - when large recoveries are made with relatively little effort by the attorney the courts have held the contingency fee agreement unconscionable.