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Unmasking the Powerful Force that Has Mis-Shaped the American Civil Justice System

Global Competition Litigation Review, Vol. 4, No. 3, 2010

Cardozo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 320

7 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2011 Last revised: 13 Jan 2011

Lester Brickman

Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

The contingency fee, once largely a uniquely American institution, is beginning to gain serious consideration in Europe and elsewhere. It is essential that those considering adopting some form of the contingency fee to finance civil litigation have a proper understanding of the impact of the contingency fee on the U.S. civil justice system. That understanding, however, appears woefully lacking. In Lawyer Barons: What Their Contingency Fees Really Cost America (Cambridge University Press 2011), I discuss the underappreciated and indeed, often unrealized costs of reliance on contingency fees to finance access to the tort system. In this essay, I reprise some of the impacts policymakers should take into account in determining whether the anticipated benefits of the American contingency fee system outweigh the considerable costs.

Keywords: contingency fees, legal ethics, professional responsibility, mass torts, class actions, rent-seeking legal fees

Suggested Citation

Brickman, Lester, Unmasking the Powerful Force that Has Mis-Shaped the American Civil Justice System (2010). Global Competition Litigation Review, Vol. 4, No. 3, 2010; Cardozo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 320. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1737893

Lester Brickman (Contact Author)

Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law ( email )

55 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10003
United States
212-790-0327 (Phone)
212-790-0205 (Fax)

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