Why Are Contingency Fees Usually One-Third?

Why Should The Attorney Get 33% Of My Settlement?

A lawyer who regularly works with clients on a contingency fee basis may take on considerable risk because the lawyer may not get paid unless he or she wins or produces a recovery for the client.  

For this reason, the percentage rate of the contingent fee must be high enough to compensate the lawyer for taking on a case where he may not get paid. Generally speaking, cases that present the most risk (i.e., difficult to prove, time consuming and/or complex cases) may require a higher contingent fee.

It also gives attorneys an incentive to produce the best possible results for their clients, because the attorney's fees are tied directly to the outcome of the case.

What About Case Costs?

In order to help prove a case an attorney may need to advance costs incurred in a case. Typical costs include charges for copying medical records, filing fees, investigation, expert witness fees, deposition fees, etc. The Washington State Bar Association ethics rules require that the client must be responsible for paying all costs associated with the case. These costs are subtracted from the final recovery amount.