Cashing by the Hour: Why Large Law Firms Prefer Hourly Fees Over Contingent Fees
UPF Working Paper No. 639
18 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2003
Date Written: July 2002
Large law firms seem to prefer hourly fees over contingent fees. This paper provides a moral hazard explanation for this pattern of behavior. Contingent legal fees align the interests of the attorney with those of the client, but not necessarily with those of the partnership. We show that the choice of hourly fees is a solution to an agency problem with multiple principals, where the interests of one principal (law firm)collide with the interests of the other principal (client).
Keywords: Law firms, legal fees, moral hazard, risk-sharing
JEL Classification: D8, K4, L8
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation