How Much Does an Employment Lawyer Cost?

A man looking over ledgers studying costs

A client shaking hands with an employment lawyer after discussing costsWhen your employer has violated your rights in the workplace, a lawsuit is effective not only for exposing the wrongful conduct but also for obtaining compensation for any financial harm you sustained. Succeeding in such a lawsuit often depends on having skilled legal representation on your side throughout your case.

Knowing how important an employment law attorney is to your chances of recovery, you may ask, “How much does an employment lawyer cost?” This is a legitimate concern, as some attorneys may charge clients thousands of dollars upfront before they even begin working on your case.

A contingency fee arrangement is ideal for those who wish to pursue legal remedies against their employer but are also concerned about the potential cost of legal representation. While there are costs associated with this fee arrangement, you can secure a lawyer’s services without owing any attorney’s fees upfront. Additionally, you may not owe any attorney’s fees if your case is unsuccessful.

Understanding Contingency Fee Agreements in Employment Law

When you and your lawyer agree to a contingency fee structure, the two of you essentially agree that the attorney’s ability to receive payment for their services is contingent on the case’s outcome. If the case succeeds, your attorney is entitled to recover their fees. If your employment law case is unsuccessful, your attorney will not receive any fees for their services.

Not only this, but the amount of fees your attorney recovers is also contingent on the size of your recovery. Rather than agreeing to pay a set amount for your attorney’s services, you and your lawyer agree that your attorney should recover a percentage of the total amount they can secure for you. 

Advantages of Contingency Fee Arrangements

"Contingency Fee" written on a notebook sitting on top of money

If you are considering hiring an attorney but are asking yourself, “How much does a labor lawyer cost?” you are the type of person who would likely benefit from a contingency fee arrangement. The financial risks to you of these fee structures are low, but you still can obtain experienced legal representation.

The chief advantage of a contingency fee arrangement is accessibility. You do not have to pay attorney fees upfront to retain the lawyer’s services. Moreover, you generally do not owe attorney fees until your case is successfully resolved. Similarly, if your case is not successful, your attorney does not get to collect any fees.

This feature of contingency fee arrangements distinguishes them from flat fee arrangements and hourly fee structures. In a flat fee structure, you pay an attorney an agreed-upon fee upfront for the attorney to perform a certain set of tasks. You owe this fee regardless of the outcome of their services. If additional services are needed, you and the attorney will need to negotiate an additional fee arrangement.

Hourly fee agreements typically require depositing a retainer, a lump sum down payment for the lawyer’s services. The lawyer then bills against this retainer based on the hours they worked on your case. As the retainer diminishes, you are responsible for making regular deposits so the lawyer can always be paid. If your case does not succeed, you do not get any of these fees back.

Another advantage to the contingency fee arrangement is that it encourages attorneys to resolve cases quickly and for as large an amount as possible. Because an attorney does not collect their fees in a contingency arrangement until the case has successfully concluded, the attorney has every incentive to work diligently toward this goal. 

Moreover, because the size of the client’s recovery affects the size of the attorney’s fees awarded, your attorney is encouraged to obtain the largest damages award they can.

The basic differences between the three fee structures are highlighted in this table:

Type of Fee Structure

Retainer Required?

Owe Attorney Fees if Unsuccessful?

When are Fees Paid?

Contingency 

No

No

After successful resolution

Hourly

Yes

Yes

Upfront and ongoing

Flat Fee

No

Yes

Upfront

Contingency fee structures enable a larger number of individuals to access legal services than the other types of fee arrangements.

How Contingency Fees Are Calculated

When you and your employment lawyer agree to a contingency fee arrangement, your attorney’s fees will be calculated at the end of the representation. The fee is determined by multiplying the percentage you and your lawyer agreed to by the amount of damages your lawyer recovered for you. 

The percentage an attorney demands as part of a contingency fee agreement depends on factors such as:

  • The attorney’s experience and reputation
  • The stage of litigation at which the case is resolved
  • The total amount of compensation your attorney recovers for you
  • Typical outcomes that the attorney is able to achieve in employment cases

Questions to Ask Your Lawyer About Contingency Fees

When you consult with any employment law attorney, you want to have a clear answer to the question, “How much is a lawyer?” The attorney should give you details as to whether they charge on a contingency fee basis or some other fee structure. 

If the attorney intends to charge you a contingency fee, ask them the following questions:

  • What percentage of my recovery will you charge for your fees?
  • What factors or circumstances might cause this percentage to increase?
  • What costs am I responsible for, regardless of the outcome of my case?
  • Am I responsible for the costs of support staff like paralegals and legal secretaries?
  • What costs, if any, do you expect me to pay upfront?

Your attorney should prepare a written contingency fee arrangement and have you sign this document before representation begins. Ensure that you read this document carefully and that it accurately reflects your understanding of the fee structure.

When to Consult a Contingency Fee Employment Lawyer

When your employer takes advantage of you, disregards your rights, or discriminates against you, knowing when to take legal action can be challenging. You may be apprehensive about doing so not only because of the perceived cost but also because you fear losing your job or facing other forms of retaliation.

However, failing to assert your rights in the workplace can lead to further discrimination and poor treatment. Filing a lawsuit and pursuing damages with the help of a skilled Florida labor lawyer is often needed to stop illegal employer behavior and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

Wenzel Fenton Cabassa has represented employees in Florida for decades, helping them protect and secure their workplace rights. We operate on a contingency fee basis, allowing you to retain our services without significant financial risk. 

Whether your employer has discriminated against you, retaliated against you for your whistleblowing activities, or refused to pay you wages you are legally entitled to, our firm can help. 

Contact Wenzel Fenton Cabassa today and schedule your consultation with our team.

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