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Encyclopedia > Attorneys' fees

Attorney's fees or attorneys' fees are the costs of legal representation that an attorney's client or a party to a lawsuit incurs. Attorney's fees are assessed in a number of ways, usually set by contract in advance of the representation, including by billable hours, flat fees, or contingent fees. Attorneys who voluntarily accept work on behalf of indigent clients often work pro bono. A party is a person or group of persons that compose a single entity which can be identified as one for the purposes of the law. ... A lawsuit is a civil action brought before a court in which the party commencing the action, the plaintiff, seeks a legal remedy. ... A contingent fee is any fee for services provided where the fee is only payable if there is a favourable result. ... An attorney is someone who represents someone else in the transaction of business: For attorney-at-law, see lawyer, solicitor, barrister or civil law notary. ... Pro bono is a phrase derived from Latin meaning for the good. The complete phrase is pro bono publico, for the public good. It is used to designate legal or other professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment, as a public service. ...


An upfront fee paid to a lawyer is called a retainer. Money within the retainer is often used to "buy" a certain amount of work. Some contracts provide that when the money from the retainer is gone, the fee is renegotiated.


In some jurisdictions, in a civil case, a lawyer for the plaintiff can take a case on a contingent fee basis. A contingent fee is a percentage of the monetary judgment or settlement. The contingent fee may be split among several firms who have contractual arrangements amongst themselves for referrals or other assistance. Where a plaintiff loses, the attorney may not receive any money for their work. Many countries prohibit contingent fees as entirely unethical. Most jurisdictions in the United States prohibit working for a contingent fee in family law or criminal cases. Look up Civil in Wiktionary, the free dictionary The word Civil is derived from the Latin word civilis, from civis (citizen). Used as an adjective, it may describe several fields, concepts, and people: Civil death Civil defense Civil disobedience Civil engineering Civil law Civil liberties Civil libertarianism Civil marriage Civil... A plaintiff, also known as a claimant or complainant, is the party who initiates a lawsuit (also known as an action) before a court. ... A judgment or judgement (see spelling note below), in a legal context, is synonymous with the formal decision made by a court following a lawsuit. ... Family Law was a television drama starring Kathleen Quinlan as a divorced lawyer who attempted to start her own law firm after her lawyer husband took all their old clients. ... for other uses please see Crime (disambiguation) A crime is an act that violates a political or moral law. ...


In the United States, state laws or bar regulations, many of which are based on Rule 1.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, govern the terms which lawyers can accept fees. Many complaints to ethics boards regarding attorneys revolve around attorney's fees.


Loser pays

Most countries operate under a "loser pays" system, sometimes called the English rule. Under the English rule, the losing party pays the successful party’s attorney’s fees, as well as other court costs. The United States is a notable exception, operating under the "American rule," whereby each party bears its own legal expenses. Some tort reform advocates propose adopting a "loser pays" rule in the United States. The term tort reform is used by supporters of the controversial contention that reform of the American civil justice system to reduce litigations adverse effect on the economy is desirable to describe those proposed and enacted changes. ...


The theory behind the American Rule is that a risk of reimbursement might dissuade plaintiffs from bringing legitimate claims, thus causing losses not only to the plaintiffs themselves, but to society as well. Opponents of the rule argue that the American Rule allows plaintiffs to extract unmerited settlements by threatening to bring expensive suits, and that the American Rule encourages "lottery" litigation, where an organized group of plaintiffs' attorneys bring hundreds of meritless litigations in the hopes of winning a large judgment in one of the cases.


Awards of attorney's fees in the United States

A number of laws provide for an award of attorney's fees for a prevailing plaintiff in lawsuits involving: A plaintiff, also known as a claimant or complainant, is the party who initiates a lawsuit (also known as an action) before a court. ...

There are many ways of calculating prevailing-party attorney's fees. Most courts recognize that actual costs may be disproportionate and inequitable. Thus, many jurisdictions rely on other calculations. Many courts or laws invoke a lodestar' calculation: reasonably expected billable hours multiplied by a reasonable hourly rate, sometimes multiplied by a factor reflecting the risk or complexity of the case. Courts in class actions frequently award fees proportionate to the damages recovered. The Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, which, among other provisions, regulates the fees that can be awarded in a class action, was passed in response to concerns that courts were not adequately overseeing the award of such fees. In law, a class action is an equitable procedural device used in litigation for determining the rights of and remedies, if any, for large numbers of people whose cases involve common questions of law and fact. ... Civil rights or positive rights are those legal rights retained by citizens and protected by the government. ... Nearly sixty countries around the world have implemented some form of freedom of information legislation, which sets rules on governmental secrecy. ... Copyright symbol. ... A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a state to a person for a fixed period of time in exchange for the regulated, public disclosure of certain details of a device, method, process or composition of matter (substance) (known as an invention) which is new, inventive, and... Antitrust or competition laws are laws which seek to promote economic and business competition by prohibiting anti-competitive behavior and unfair business practices. ... Lemon Laws are U.S. state laws that provide remedies to consumers for vehicles that repeatedly fail to meet certain standards of quality and performance. ... In law, jurisdiction from the Latin jus, juris meaning law and dicere meaning to speak, is the practical authority granted to a formally constituted body or to a person to deal with and make pronouncements on legal matters and, by implication, to administer justice within a defined area of responsibility. ... The U.S. Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, 28 U.S.C. Sections 1332(d), 1453, and 1711-1715, grants federal courts original jurisdiction over certain mass actions and class actions (forms of civil action) in which the amount in controversy exceeds $5 million, and any of the members...


Some statutes permit awards of attorney's fees to prevailing defendants in extraordinary circumstances, such as proving that the litigation was frivolous, in the sense of it being objectively baseless and in brought in bad faith. A statute is a formal, written law of a country or state, written and enacted by its legislative authority, perhaps to then be ratified by the highest executive in the government, and finally published. ... In courts, a defense or claim is termed frivolous if it is presented in spite of the fact that both the party and the partys attorney knew that it had no merit and it did not argue for a reasonable extension or reinterpretation of the law or no underlying...


Tort reform and attorney's fees

Some tort reform proposals in the United States seek to further regulate attorney's fees. Florida passed a law limiting contingent fees in medical malpractice cases. Some object to these laws as an unfair restriction on freedom of contract. The term tort reform is used by supporters of the controversial contention that reform of the American civil justice system to reduce litigations adverse effect on the economy is desirable to describe those proposed and enacted changes. ... Official language(s) English Capital Tallahassee Largest city Jacksonville Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 22nd 170,451 km² 260 km 800 km 17. ... The basic definition of medical malpractice is an act or omission by a health care provider which deviates from accepted standards of practice in the medical community causing injury to the patient. ... Freedom of contract is the key public policy that underpins the law of contract and justifies a legally enforceable system of bargaining as a benefit to society. ...


 
 

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