Do You Owe Money To Your Lawyer If You Lose Your Case In Kingston, NY?

Question: Do you owe money to your lawyer if you lose your case?

Answer: You’ve seen the lawyer advertisements that read, “No fee if no recovery”, right? Well, of course there’s no fee if there is no recovery—that is a part of every contingency fee agreement. The attorney does not get a legal fee unless he recovers money for you.

“No fee if no recovery” really means nothing for you. The question you must always ask your lawyer is this: “If I lose my case, will I owe you any money for the case expenses?” The case expenses in a lawsuit might range from $15,000 to $150,000 and if you lose your case, your lawyer can insist that you “pay up”. Or even worse, you might get sued by your lawyer for the case expenses if you lose your case.

Under New York law, your lawyer is ethically permitted to accept sole responsibility for case expenses if you lose your case. If you lose your case, you will not owe a penny for the cases expenses paid by your lawyer. THIS IS CRUCIAL!

Let’s face one fact of life: even in the strongest case, there is always a possibility that you will lose. Even if you think there’s not a chance that you’ll lose, you have to confront this possibility with your lawyer BEFORE YOU SIGN THE RETAINER AGREEMENT.

You should insist that your lawyer include a paragraph in the retainer agreement that reads, “If Client does not recover money by settlement, judgment or otherwise, the Lawyer will be solely and exclusively responsible for case expenses.” Do not sign the retainer agreement until you have this sentence in the agreement!

If your lawyer refuses to agree and insists that you sign his retainer agreement, it’s time to find a new lawyer. You don’t want to take a chance that you’ll be stuck with a huge debt if you lose your case.