What Is A Contingency Fee Agreement?

AUTHOR: A.J. Bruning | November 23, 2015
What Is A Contingency Fee Agreement?

In exchange for legal representation, a client and his or her attorney will agree to a legal fee arrangement. Calculating an attorney’s legal fee is based on several factors the including the type of case, the amount of time spent on the case, the lawyer’s personal ability, training, experience, and reputation, the novelty or difficulty in the subject matter of the case, the result of the case, the legal fees including court filing costs, and the lawyer’s overhead costs such as rent, utilities, and office equipment.1 These fees are grouped or categorized into several different types. One type of common fee arrangement is known as a flat fee where there is a total, pre-set specific charge is paid in exchange for a non-complex or routine legal matter such as drafting a will or processing an uncontested divorce.2 The second form of legal fee arrangement is known as an hourly rate where a lawyer establishes a set rate for his or her services and then clients pay based on the number of hours or portion of hours the lawyer works to resolve the case.3 One of the more restricted forms of legal fees since it is barred in certain types of cases is a percentage based arrangement known as a contingency fee.4

The Basics Behind A Contingency Fee Arrangement

According to the American Bar Association, a contingent fee is a legal fee arrangement that is activated only if the lawyer handles the case successfully. If the outcome of the claim or case is in favor of the client, then his or her lawyer is entitled to receive a prearranged or fixed percentage of the recovery or compensation paid to the client.5 In this arrangement, since the lawyer only receives monetary reimbursement contingent or pending on the payout the client receives, the flip side of the arrangement is that if the client loses, then neither the lawyer or the client will receive any money.6 These types of contingent fee arrangements are typically reserved for personal injury or workers’ compensation cases, but can be used in any case where money damages are sought for some sort of injury which is why determining the type of legal fee arrangement is an initial decision that should be made during the lawyer’s consultation.

Contact an Experienced St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation

If you have been involved in an accident or event that resulted in the need for personal representation, it is important to discuss the circumstances of your injury or losses with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help to protect your legal rights and interests to compensation. To contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call the The Bruning Law Firm trial attorneys at 314-735-8100.


  1. http://hirealawyer.findlaw.com/
  2. http://www.americanbar.org/

A.J. Bruning


I was born and raised to represent individuals who have been needlessly injured. I mean that literally. At a young age my father would tell me about the clients he was representing. I would meet them and take pride in their admiration of my father. I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer and represent clients that needed my help.

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