Use this template/format as a Lawyer Engagement Letter (Contingent Fee) Form.
Text version of this Form
I, of , ___________________ (the Client) retain the _____________ Law Offices (the Attorney), to perform legal services described below. The Attorney agrees to perform these services faithfully and diligently.
1. Claims: The legal services to be performed concerning
a. Contingent fees: If the Attorney obtains any money, either through negotiation, settlement or suit, for the Client from any parties or their representatives, the Client will pay a legal fee of 33 percent (thirty-three and one-third percent) of the total amount received. Said fee shall have priority over any other fee, lien, cost, or any payment whatsoever.
b. Court Ordered Attorneys fees: There is a possibility that a court will order the defendant(s) to compensate the Client for legal fees on some or all claims. There is also a possibility that a settlement will include compensation for legal fees. In this event the contingent legal fee due to the Attorney will be the greater of either:
i. 33 percent of the combined total of all money received as compensation for the plaintiff’s claims and the money received as compensation for legal fees, or
ii. the money received as compensation for legal fees.
However, should a court award legal fees as a sanction against another party or based upon a motion and not as part of the conclusion of a case, such fees will belong to the attorney and will not be considered as part of subsection b. In the event no money is received from the defendants the Client is not obligated to pay any contingent legal fee to the Attorney.
c. Appeals/Appellate Legal Fees: There is a possibility the judgement of the trial court can and/or will be appealed by any party. Under no circumstances is the Attorney obligated to defend or prosecute any appeal for the Client. Whether any appeal of Client’s case will be defended or prosecuted must be the subject of a new, separate written agreement between the Attorney and the Client.
3. Client Responsible for Costs: Besides the legal fees, the Client is responsible for payment of all out-of-pocket expenses. Examples of out-of-pocket expenses include, but are not limited to, costs of court filing, Sheriff’s service of process fees, deposition transcripts, expert witness fees, telephone toll charges, travel and investigation expenses. The Attorney agrees to advance the costs of the underlying case and to accept payment from the Client’s portion of any proceeds of the case.
4. Client Terminating Relationship: The Client may discharge the Attorney from any further services anytime by giving written notice. In the event the Attorney is discharged prior to the conclusion of this matter, prior to the filing of suit of a formal civil action, or in the event the Client chooses not to proceed with the case to a conclusion, the Client will pay the Attorney a reasonable legal fee on a quantum meruit basis at a rate of ________________ dollars ($_________.00) per hour for all work performed by the Attorney and shall acknowledge and agree that the attorney shall have a lien upon all causes of action, claims, or counterclaims. Said lien shall include all the foregoing hourly legal fees as well as all costs and out of pocket expenses paid by the attorney. If the matter has been placed in suit, this lien will be an Attorney’s Lien pursuant to _________________ General Laws chapter ________. If the matter has not been placed in suit, this shall be a Common Law Lien, which the parties to this agreement understand is both contractual and consensual.
5. Attorney Terminating Relationship: The Attorney may end representation of the Client if the Attorney-Client relationship deteriorates because of the non-cooperation of the Client to a point where the Attorney determines he can no longer adequately represent the Client. If this occurs prior to the conclusion of this matter, prior to the filing of suit of a formal civil action, or in the event the Client chooses not to proceed with the case to a conclusion, the Client will pay the Attorney a reasonable legal fee on a quantum meruit basis at a rate of ____________________ dollars ($_______) per hour for all work performed by the Attorney and shall acknowledge and agree that the attorney shall have a lien upon all causes of action, claims, or counterclaims. Said lien shall include all the foregoing hourly legal fees as well as all costs and out of pocket expenses paid by the attorney. If the matter has been placed in suit, this lien will be an Attorney’s Lien pursuant to ___________ General Laws chapter _________. If the matter has not been placed in suit, this shall be a Common Law Lien, which the parties to this agreement understand is both contractual and consensual.
6. Waiver of Attorneys fees: The Client agrees not to enter into any settlement of claims that require waiver or compromise the claim for Attorneys’ fees or that requires the claim for Attorneys’ fees to be litigated separately from her claim for damages, without the approval of the Attorney.
7. Filing of Suit: At the time of signing this agreement the Attorney has conducted a preliminary investigation of the Client’s claims and has concluded that it warrants further investigation. The Attorney does not at this time agree that he will file a lawsuit in this matter. The Attorney does agree that he will continue the investigation and at the end of that investigation he will decide whether he will file suit upon the Client’s behalf. The Attorney may offer, at his choice, to discontinue the present fee agreement and negotiate a new fee agreement.
8. Co-counsel: The Attorney may from time to time seek the assistance of co-counsel in the investigation, negotiation, or prosecution of the Client’s claims. Such co-counsel will be bound by all terms of this agreement as if subscribed hereunder.
9. Collection Services: This agreement does not included any collection Services which must be the subject of a new, separate written agreement between Attorney and Client.
10. Settlement of Outstanding Medical Bills: In the event the Attorney compromises and pays any of Client’s medical bill(s)/bill/lien in an amount less than the amount of the original outstanding medical bill/bill/lien, the Attorney may charge, in addition to a one-third contingent fee, as outlined under paragraph 2 above, a reasonable Attorney fee in the amount of ________ percent (______%) of the amount of money saved due to the said compromise and/or discount of any outstanding medical bill, bill or lien.
11. Lien/Doctor’s Fees/Medicare/Third Party Provision: The Client hereby acknowledges that the attorney shall have the right to pay any lien, outstanding doctor’s fee, medicare lien, or any other third party or government lien from any amount recovered for the Client. The Client may dispute any such lien, outstanding doctor’s fee, medicare lien, or any other third party or government lien and agrees that if the Client does so dispute, the amount shall remain in the Attorney’s IOLTA account until such a time as the situation is resolved between the lien holder, doctor, government entity and the Client. Such resolution is entirely up to the Client, although the Attorney may, at his own discretion, aid the Client. The Client is responsible to inform the Attorney of any and all liens.
12. Fee Disputes/ARBITRATION PROVISION: If the Client and Attorney are unable to resolve their differences on the question of any fee, and or expense, they hereby agree to make a good faith effort at resolving their disputes. If the dispute cannot be resolved, the Client and Attorney agree to place the matter before the Fee Arbitration Board of the Massachusetts Bar Association, or some other fee dispute resolution body, and agree to be bound by the decision.
13. Savings Clause: If any part of this Representation Agreement shall be invalid, illegal, or inoperative for any reason, it is the intention of the Client and the Attorney that the remaining parts, so far as possible and reasonable, shall be effective and fully operative. This Representation Agreement represents the entire agreement for the payment of legal fees, costs and expenses between Attorney and Client.
By executing this Representation Agreement, the Client acknowledges that he or she has read it, understands its contents and understand that the Client has the right to consult with another lawyer concerning any of the terms, and agrees to be bound by all of its terms and conditions and further, that the __________ Law Offices, or its duly authorized agent, has made no representations to the Client as to the likelihood of the outcome of the Client’s case and that the Client believes that this Representation Agreement to be fair and reasonable.
Before signing this agreement the Client should read it thoroughly and if the Client has any questions he or she may feel free to ask for a complete explanation. This Representation Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
I Have Read this Representation Agreement and Understand and Agree to the Terms Set Forth Herein.
for the ____________Law Offices
I Acknowledge That I Have Received a Complete Copy of this Representation Agreement.