Can you tell me if this is a reasonable amount to ask for as a lawyer:
Our fee is either taken as 1/3 out of a settlement or the court will award us fees, whichever is greater. If we do not win, you will pay nothing.
I was told we would get a settlement according to what each person made and now I am trying to figure out if 1/3 is a lot to ask for from each person... or out of a lump some of lets say 500,000. thanks
One third of any recovery is standard, if the court awards fees you are evenbetteroff. This sounds very reasonable. You can always try to negotiate a lower fee but many attys wont budge on the 1/3 since they incur the risk of investing their time and expenses into a case or a class action, which can be very costly.
Some lawyers will negotiate the percentage, if the client is willing to invest in the case. For example, if the client agrees to pay litigation costs, which can easily exceed $15,000 for a $500.000 case, the attorney might be willing to accept 25%. But if you want the attorneys to take all the risk if the case is lost, then you have to be willing to reward them if they are successful.
You don't say what type of case this is. In contingency matters in New York, 1/3 is standard.
I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 385-8015 or via email at [email protected] The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.
In a class action, the Court typically awards the fees upon an application by the lawyers representing the class - it is generally a percentage of the overall recovery or some multiplier of the lawyers reasonable hourly rate (called lodestar). Therefore, while you may be able to negotiate a cap on what the lawyers may ultimately apply for, it is not your fee to negotiate. Class actions are on behalf of a class so the Court takes the role of deciding what a reasonable fee is. Of course, if you are the lead plaintiff, you can have some say in what the application to the Court requests.
The above answer is based general legal principals applied to the limited information provided in the question. My answer is not intended to nor should it be construed as providing legal advice or opinions, and, under no circumstances, does it constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. Please be aware that the law and its interpretation differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and therefore you should consult with an attorney who will be more familiar with your particular situation and the application of relevant law.
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