Legal Fee Restrictions, Moral Hazard, and Attorney Rights
AbstractWhen attorney effort is unobservable and certain other simplifying assumptions (such as risk neutrality) hold, it is efficient for an attorney to purchase the rights to a client's legal claim. However, the American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit this arrangement. We show that this ethical restriction, which is formally equivalent to requiring a minimum fixed fee of zero, can create economic rents for attorneys, even though they continue to compete along the contingent-fee dimension. The contingent fee is not bid down to the zero-profit level, because such a fee does not induce sufficient attorney effort. We thereby provide a political economy explanation for these restrictions. Copyright 2001 by the University of Chicago.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Law & Economics.
Volume (Year): 44 (2001)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/
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- 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.
- Winand Emons & Nuno Garoupa, 2004.
"The Economics of US-style Contingent Fees and UK-style Conditional Fees,"
dp0407, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
- Emons, Winand & Garoupa, Nuno, 2004. "The Economics of US-Style Contingent Fees and UK-Style Conditional Fees," CEPR Discussion Papers 4473, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- 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.
- Andrew F. Daughtey & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2010. "Clients, Lawyers, Second Opinions, and Agency," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 1009, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
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