Based on questions and comments on our social media posts, there is sometimes a perception that compensation lawyers take a fixed percentage of any compensation or choose a percentage based on how much compensation is gained.
So, how much do no win no fee lawyers take?
While all law firms operate differently, we do not charge a fixed percentage, we only charge for the work actually done & don’t charge unless we are successful.
- We log all work done during a matter and only charge for the work done. When choosing a ‘no win, no fee’ lawyer you may wish to check if the law firm will charge based only for actual work done & can provide a breakdown of costs.
- Many items are charged at a per task cost. Firms using ‘task based’ costing have an incentive to do the work in a fast and efficient matter which can help move a claim forward faster. If all tasks are charged at an hourly rate then there could be an incentive for a law firm to complete the task at a slower rate to bill more in fees.
- We pass on our work log to an independent and respected legal cost assessor at the end of each matter. They calculate the fee we should charge based on our work log and fee schedule. The figure they provide is what we charge.
There is a rule in Queensland that means legal fees can never exceed 50% of the compensation amount.
As we only charge for the work done, our fees typically equate to far less than 50%. However, there rule is in place to protect you from being out of pocket.
Example of when the 50% fee cap may come into play;
- Matter expected to be a major claim at the outset, large amount of work required to build strong case. Let’s assume that the expected compensation amount was around $150,000. During the period of working on the claim, something occurs that makes the claim worth a lot less such as injury recovery going far better than expected. If the claim then became worth only $20,000 and $20,000 worth of legal work had been done, you would not owe the full fees. If $20,000 was awarded then the legal fees would not exceed $10,000 in this case.
‘No win, no fee’ still has risks – avoid them, only with NO WIN. NO FEE. NO CATCH. ®
The phrase ‘no win, no fee’ seems simple and suggests there is nothing to pay unless you win your case. There is however a big catch. While you may not be billed by your ‘no win, no fee’ legal firm for their legal fees if you lose, there may be other costs to pay.
There are a number of situations in which typical ‘no win, no fee’ legal agreements could leave you out of pocket. These include:
- losing a case in court – if a case goes to court & you lose then you may have to pay the other sides legal costs. These costs could be many tens of thousands of dollars.
- disbursements for non-legal costs – law firms are entitled to request reimbursement for payments made to third parties in relation to the matter even if the case is not successful. These costs can include items such as independent medical reports, barristers fees, post & photocopying fees.
Smith’s Lawyers are the only law firm in Queensland to offer a truly no-risk promise, NO WIN. NO FEE. NO CATCH. ®. With this promise we protect you from any risk of being left out of pocket. The short video below explains the difference between our unique promise & typical ‘no win, no fee’ arrangements.
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