We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
We've just entered into a representation by an attorney due to a car accident. (Medical expenses alone may exceed $50,000.)
After introductory pleasantries, we asked about our options, our case, how much the settlement may be and the fee. The attorney said the customary fee, and his, is a third. However, I also said, in writing, in the agreement that if a settlement is reached early and easily, WE decide how much to pay him on a hourly representation basis.
That arrangement sounded just fine with us and we signed on.
Thanks folks--your insights are welcome. Question for Peter Gunn (and yes, I do remember): how is it possible for you to decide what to pay if the case is settled early? I don't quite understand the message. Please explain: is it that you can agree to his hourly charges that he presents to you, or you can choose a percentage?
BD: You are correct--it takes back bone. You'd be surprised at nice, "honest" attorneys out there who don't have the courage to do the job. The other terrifying thing is that in some states the judges wives and legal secretaries are so united behind the scenes that nothing gets done in court. The information becomes public knowledge thanks to the secretaries, and the judge's wives have a power base of their own.
We wrote an addendum to the contingency agreement that "I would decide how much to pay (attorney's name).
I don't know what we may or may not use as a guideline, at this time, as it is dependent upon how easy the case is (ie: the other insurance company may just offer their limits).
It will depend on time spent on the case, probably an agreed upon hourly rate.