While many lawyers may be willing to accept claims on an hourly basis, which can generate legal fees in excess of $25,000, $50,000, or even $100,000, fewer may be willing to handle claims on a contingency basis. While the lawyer on hourly billing is paid regardless of the outcome, the contingency lawyer is paid only if he wins and collects. He may spend many hours on a disputed claim, so careful case selection is required. How can you improve your chances of having a lawyer take a case on contingency?

1. Simple explanation of the case

A simple case is easier to litigate and explain to a jury or judge. Be prepared to provide a simple and concise explanation of your claim, with further details only if requested. For example, the seller provided defective goods for which we paid $70,000, and we had to buy replacement goods which cost $90,000.

2. Provide third-party support for the claim

Ideally, the claim is established through documents prepared by third parties, witness observations, and other evidence. A claim based solely on the plaintiff’s own testimony is more difficult to prove given his incentive to portray events in a manner that favors his claim. Be prepared to explain how your claim is independently verified.

3. Explain facts but not law

Knowledge of the law is the attorney’s job. The client’s task is to explain and provide the factual support for the claim.

4. Have expert support if possible

Having an expert report that explains a defect or documents damages will make your claim more attractive.

5. Be cooperative

A lawyer will want a client who will assist with the claim but does not have unrealistic expectations.

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