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Contingent fee agreements are a common practice in Massachusetts and other states across the United States. These agreements provide a way for people who do not have the financial means to hire a lawyer to get legal representation. With a contingent fee agreement, the lawyer agrees to represent the client without charging any upfront fees. Instead, the lawyer recovers their fees by taking a percentage of any settlement or judgment that the client receives.

The Benefits of Contingent Fee Agreements

Contingent fee agreements have several benefits for clients. First and foremost, they provide a way for people who cannot afford a lawyer to get legal representation. This is especially important in cases where the client is seeking a large settlement or judgment, such as in personal injury cases.

Another benefit of contingent fee agreements is that they incentivize the lawyer to work hard to get a good result for the client. Because the lawyer only gets paid if the client receives a settlement or judgment, they have a strong motivation to work hard to get the best possible result for their client.

Finally, contingent fee agreements can provide peace of mind for clients. Knowing that they will not have to pay any upfront costs for legal representation can alleviate stress and worry during an already stressful time.

How Contingent Fee Agreements Work in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, contingent fee agreements are governed by Rule 1.5 of the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct. This rule sets out the requirements that lawyers must follow when entering into contingent fee agreements with clients.

Under Rule 1.5, contingent fee agreements must be in writing and must clearly explain the terms of the agreement, including the percentage of any settlement or judgment that the lawyer will take as their fee. Additionally, the agreement must explain how expenses will be handled, including whether the client will be responsible for any expenses incurred during the case.

It is important to note that the percentage that the lawyer takes as their fee can vary depending on the type of case and the complexity of the case. In general, the percentage ranges from 33% to 40% of any settlement or judgment.

Conclusion

Contingent fee agreements are an important tool for providing access to justice for people who cannot afford legal representation. In Massachusetts, these agreements are governed by Rule 1.5 of the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct. If you are considering entering into a contingent fee agreement with a lawyer, it is important to ensure that the agreement is in writing and clearly explains the terms of the agreement. Additionally, you should discuss the percentage that the lawyer will take as their fee and any expenses that may be incurred during the case.