Legal Question in Business Law in Virginia

hiring an attorney on a contigency basis

I am being represented by an attorney that has agreed to represent my company on a contingency basis. He is now requesting that I pay him a fee retainer of $2,000. This is the second time that he has requested a retainer of this type, the first of which occured when the agreement was first signed for $1,000. The case has a potential value of between $500k - $1MM, and his firm is due 25% of the total settlement if it is settled out of court, 33% if it goes to trial.

Is this fee retainer normal and customary? How do I ensure that I am able to recoup these fees once the case is settled?

Thanks for your assistance!

Asked on 8/28/07, 5:06 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

John Jackson Law Office of John A. Jackson, P.C.

Re: hiring an attorney on a contigency basis

It is uncommon. An attorney and client can agree to any fee agreement they want. Your attorney should give you an accounting of the fees you paid and his or her costs and court fees. Review that and if there is a problem bring it to the attorneys attention. If he or she does not resolve it go to the state bar association. They will likely be able to direct you to a mediator who will attempt to resolve the matter amicablly.

Have you discussed your concerns with your attorney about this matter?

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Answered on 8/28/07, 11:51 pm

Ruth Emily Kochard Ruth Emily Kochard, Counselor at Law

Re: hiring an attorney on a contigency basis

While the retainer may be high there are too many facts(missing) that would affect how reasonable this is. I would speak with the attorney directly as a first step. Also, assuming that the retainer is refundable to the extent not used, after resolution (eg. trial) the attorney would keep all costs(out of pocket expenses) for which you were responsible prior to dividing the remainder in percentages.

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Answered on 8/29/07, 12:23 am

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