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What is a fair percentage an attorney should charge to be a consultant on an appeal?

Santa Ana, CA |

I am looking for an attorney to work on a contingency basis to help me with my appeal in a civil case. I could pay only if win my appeal and then win my case at a new trial. I don't know what a fir amount would be for an attorney to work as a consultant. I have not found anyone that has been interested in helping me pro bono, so this was the best I could offer anyone interested in helping. Mt total loss was $110,000 , however I also suffered injuries, where I have become disabled since 2007 from the Defendants actions.

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

If you could find an attorney willing to take your matter on a contingency at this stage, my guess would be the percentage would be quite high - above 40%. The reason is you are asking someone to agree to not only handle an appeal where there is, at best, a 20% chance of success on a good day, but then also handle the case which underlies it if the appeal results in a new trial. The biggest problem will be that most contingency lawyers will be unwilling to take over at this stage, given the amount in controversy and the high probability of loss.

If, on the other hand, you are simply asking an attorney to give some advice but not take over the case, what that attorney would charge is negotiable, again if you can find someone to do it.

Remember that contingency lawyers look at new engagements with a keen business eye. They weigh potential fee verses many factors including the risk of not getting paid, the number of hours it will take, the exposure to costs, the exposure to their reputation, the client's demeanor and nature, and many others. It is a business decision, not a decision of the heart. It has to be because if attorneys made decisions of the heart, they would go out of business very quickly and be unavailable to help anyone.

If you wish to get services from someone where they do all the work with a substantial risk of loss of their time, you will have to offer a fair percentage of the potential recovery to attract that person.

I wish you the best of luck.

This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.


Dear ?,

I have already explained to you that we (appeals attorneys) do NOT work on a contingency basis.
In some states, there are ethics rules prohibiting it. So, if there is anyone of us who will act as consultant, he/she will expect to be paid either in advance or by the hour. (My time is worth a minimum of $150/hr.)

Yours sincerely,
Tim Provis
Cal Bar No. 104800
Wis. Bar No. 1020123
Member: U.S. Supreme Court Bar


Actually, this is a contingency (winning appeal) based on a contingency (winning at retrial) based on a contingency (a solvent defendant to collect from). There is no standard fair amount. If any lawyer offers to help you should seriously consider.

The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advise" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.