My father passed away in a trucking accident, we have an estate lawyer working on behalf of me and my 5 siblings and also my late fathers wife. we were told that there is a settlement for 1 million dollars, recently I've spoken to my step mom who is the power of attorney. She is very upset that the lawyer is charging 350,000 plus she said there is another lawyer who finalized the case and he's asking for 100,000. Not to mention there are other fees that has to be paid out of the settlement. Are these guys trying to rob us blind or is that normal? Thats almost half the money gone and the rest has to be split between 6 people. Just seeking advice on the matter.
My first question would be what did the engagement agreement state? 35 to 40 % plus expenses would not be uncommon..the executor/administrator can ask for a detailed accounting to verify.
This is for general information only. Nothing in this information should be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship nor shall any of this information be construed as providing legal advice. Laws change over time and differ from state to state. These answers are based on California Law.Applicability of the legal principles discussed may differ substantially in individual situations. You should not act upon the information presented herein without consulting an attorney about your particular situation. No attorney-client relationship is established.
If this is a personal injury/wrongful death case the fee is set by statute - should be 1/3 after expenses - and have to be approved by the court.
I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been handling criminal defense and personal injury cases for over 19 years. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails, is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.
One third is very common. Here's why.
Personal injury is a bit different than employment law but we spend lots of time talking to many many potential clients. We don't earn regular salaries like most people do.
So one week we might earn $20,000 or $100,000 And then we might have 6 months where we might earn $50,000.
We probably only accept 1 out 10 possible calls or even 1 out of 20.
Sometimes a great client has no money and you want to help them. A federal lawsuit can cost hundreds of thousands and if we lose we can be in the red. We don't sue our own clients most of the time.
It's very expensive to practice law. Thousands every year for insurance, thousands for continuing education which all of us are required to complete (We earn no money for pro bono or taking classes).
So in a nutshell most of us earn good money few of us earn as much as many people think we do and the average nationwide solo practitioner earns not even 50 grand a year which is most lawyers.
So you decide. Would you spend several hundred grand for law school to earn 50 a year (that's average for most solo practitioners on average around the country).
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