Attorneys are typically paid in one of two ways: (1) by the hour; and (2) on a “contingency” basis.
Under Option 1, the attorney is paid whether the client wins or loses the case. Moreover, the attorney may charge hundreds of dollars and require a retainer be paid up front. Because many people cannot afford to put up a retainer they opt for Option 2.
A contingency means that something must occur before the fee is triggered. In the case of an attorney-client relationship, the contingency is that the claimant must realize a recovery before there is any fee. In other words, “No win, no fee.”
However, if there is a recovery, the attorney will typically share a percentage of the recovery as a fee. Some have referred to this arrangement as “the poor man’s key to the courthouse,” as it allows a client to retain an attorney without paying anything out-of-pocket up front.
The Ortiz Law Firm handles virtually of of its cases on a contingent fee basis.
- In Social Security cases, the “contingency fee” is typically 25% of the back pay owed to the claimant.
- In Long Term Disability Insurance (LTD), Short Term Disability (STD) and ERISA cases, the fee is typically 33 1/3-40%.