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Contingent Fees for Attorneys: An Economic Analysis

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  • Daniel F. Rubinfeld
  • Suzanne Scotchmer

Abstract

When there is asymmetric information, contingent fees can allow clients to signal the qualities of their cases and attorneys to signal the quality of their advice. Thus, a well-informed client who has a high-quality case will be willing to pay a relatively high fixed fee and a relatively low contingency percentage, while a client with a low-quality case will prefer a low fixed fee and a high contingency percentage. In contrast, a well-informed high-quality attorney will signal her ability by working for a relatively high contingency percentage.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by The RAND Corporation in its journal RAND Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 24 (1993)
Issue (Month): 3 (Autumn)
Pages: 343-356

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Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:24:y:1993:i:autumn:p:343-356

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Cited by:
  1. Flora Felso & Sander Onderstal & Jo Seldeslachts, 2014. "What Clients want: Choices between Lawyers' Offerings," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 14-020/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
  2. Hyde, Charles E., 2006. "Conditional versus contingent fees: Litigation expenditure incentives," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 180-194, June.
  3. Winand Emons & Nuno Garoupa, 2006. "US-style contingent fees and UK-style conditional fees: agency problems and the supply of legal services," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(5), pages 379-385.
  4. Cotten, Stephen J. & Santore, Rudy, 2012. "Contingent fee caps, screening, and the quality of legal services," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 317-328.
  5. Camille Chaserant & Sophie Harnay, 2013. "The regulation of quality in the market for legal services: Taking the heterogeneity of legal services seriously," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 10(2), pages 267-291, August.
  6. Henderson, James & Leleux, Benoit & White, Ian, 2006. "Service-for-equity arrangements: Untangling motives and conflicts," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 886-909, November.
  7. Baik, Kyung Hwan & Kim, In-Gyu, 1997. "Delegation in contests," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 281-298, May.
  8. Winand Emons & Claude Fluet, 2013. "Why Plaintiffs' Attorneys Use Contingent and Defense Attorneys Fixed Fee Contracts," Diskussionsschriften dp1306, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  9. Heyes, Anthony & Rickman, Neil & Tzavara, Dionisia, 2004. "Legal expenses insurance, risk aversion and litigation," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 107-119, March.
  10. Halla, Martin, 2007. "Divorce and the Excess Burden of Lawyers," IZA Discussion Papers 2962, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Polinsky, A. Mitchell & Rubinfeld, Daniel L., 2001. "Aligning the Interests of Lawyers and Clients," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt2kz8r3j1, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  12. Friehe, Tim, 2010. "Contingent fees and legal expenses insurance: Comparison for varying defendant fault," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 283-290, December.
  13. Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2011. "Search, Bargaining, And Agency in the Market for Legal Services," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 1106, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  14. Rudy Santore & Alan D. Viard, 1999. "Legal fee restrictions, moral hazard, and attorney profits," Working Papers 9912, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  15. Nuno Garoupa & Fernando Gómez, 2002. "Cashing by the hour: Why large law firms prefer hourly fees over contingent fees," Economics Working Papers 639, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

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