Seven Dogged Myths Concerning Contingency Fees

46 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2006


Myths and misinformation abounds concerning the American contingency fee system. In this paper I discuss seven common perceptions about contingency fees and present evidence that each is mistaken. The seven issues considered are (1) contingency fees are peculiarly American, (2) most contingency fee cases involve little risk, (3) advertising by the plaintiffs' bar has produced a flood of clients seeking compensation, (4) contingency fee lawyers accept most cases that potential clients bring to them, (5) contingency fee lawyers charge a standard fee of one-third of the recovery, (6) lawyers routinely obtain windfalls from contingency fees, and (7) the interests of contingency fee lawyers and their clients are routinely in conflict. The analysis in this paper draws heavily on material discussed in 'Risks, Reputations, and Rewards: Contingency Fee Legal Practice in the United States' (SSRN Abstract No. 572883).

Keywords: Contingent fee, contingency fee, tort, plaintiff, lawyer

Suggested Citation

Kritzer, Herbert M., Seven Dogged Myths Concerning Contingency Fees. Washington University Law Quarterly, Vol. 80, pp. 739-794, 2002, Available at SSRN:

Herbert M. Kritzer (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota Law School ( email )

229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics