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Conditional versus Contingent Fees

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  • Emons, Winand

Abstract

Under contingent fees the attorney gets a share of the judgement; under conditional fees the lawyer gets an upscale premium if the case is won which is, however, unrelated to the adjudicated amount. We compare conditional and contingent fees in a framework where lawyers are uninformed about the clients’ cases. If there is asymmetric information about the merits of cases, in equilibrium attorneys will offer only conditional fees. If there is asymmetric information about the risk of cases, only contingent fee contracts are offered in equilibrium.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4532.

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Date of creation: Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4532

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Keywords: adverse selection; conditional fees; contingent fees; moral hazard; pooling; screening;

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References

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  1. Winand Emons & Nuno Garoupa, 2004. "The Economics of US-style Contingent Fees and UK-style Conditional Fees," Diskussionsschriften dp0407, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  2. A. Mitchell Polinsky & Daniel L. Rubinfeld, 2003. "Aligning the Interests of Lawyers and Clients," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 165-188.
  3. Bester, Helmut, 1985. "Screening vs. Rationing in Credit Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 850-55, September.
  4. Gravelle, Hugh & Waterson, Michael, 1993. "No Win, No Fee: Some Economics of Contingent Legal Fees," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(420), pages 1205-20, September.
  5. Halpern, P. J. & Turnbull, S. M., 1983. "Legal fees contracts and alternative cost rules: An economic analysis," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 3-26, June.
  6. Dana, James D, Jr & Spier, Kathryn E, 1993. "Expertise and Contingent Fees: The Role of Asymmetric Information in Attorney Compensation," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 349-67, October.
  7. Kirstein, Roland & Rickman, Neil, 2002. ""Third Party Contingency" contracts in settlement and litigation," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt6vn9877z, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
  8. Hellmann, Thomas & Stiglitz, Joseph, 2000. "Credit and equity rationing in markets with adverse selection," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 281-304, February.
  9. Emons, Winand, 2000. "Expertise, contingent fees, and insufficient attorney effort," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 21-33, March.
  10. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
  11. Rickman, Neil, 1999. "Contingent fees and litigation settlement1," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 295-317, September.
  12. Rickman, Neil, 1994. "The Economics of Contingency Fees in Personal Injury Litigation," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(1), pages 34-50, Spring.
  13. Lynk, William J, 1990. "The Courts and the Market: An Economic Analysis of Contingent Fees in Class-Action Litigation," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 247-60, January.
  14. Alon Klement, 2004. "Incentive Structures for Class Action Lawyers," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 102-124, April.
  15. de Meza, David & Webb, David C, 1987. "Too Much Investment: A Problem of Asymmetric Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 281-92, May.
  16. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Bruno Deffains & Eric Langlais, 2011. "Informational Externalities and Settlements in Mass Tort Litigations," EconomiX Working Papers 2011-14, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
  2. Stone, Michael P. & Miceli, Thomas J., 2012. "Optimal attorney advertising," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 329-338.
  3. Emons, Winand & Fluet, Claude, 2013. "Why Plaintiffs' Attorneys Use Contingent and Defense Attorneys Fixed Fee Contracts," CEPR Discussion Papers 9727, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Deffains, Bruno & Langlais, Eric, 2007. "Informational externalities and informational sharing in class action suits," MPRA Paper 4846, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Florian Baumann & Tim Friehe, 2012. "Contingent fees meet the British rule: an exploratory study," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 150(3), pages 499-510, March.
  6. Lorenzo Sacconi, 2011. "The case against lawyers’ contingent fees and the misapplication of principal-agent models," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 263-292, October.
  7. Winand Emons, 2004. "Playing It Safe with Low Conditional Fees versus Being Insured by High Contingent Fees," Diskussionsschriften dp0419, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  8. Flora Felso & Sander Onderstal & Jo Seldeslachts, 2014. "What Clients want: Choices between Lawyers' Offerings," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 14-020/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
  9. 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.
  10. Bertrand Chopard & Thomas Cortade & Eric Langlais, 2008. "Trial and settlement negotiations between asymmetrically skilled parties," EconomiX Working Papers 2008-32, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
  11. Winand Emons & Nuno Garoupa, 2004. "The Economics of US-style Contingent Fees and UK-style Conditional Fees," Diskussionsschriften dp0407, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  12. Baik, Kyung Hwan & Kim, In-Gyu, 2007. "Contingent fees versus legal expenses insurance," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 351-361, September.

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