Legal fee restrictions, moral hazard, and attorney profits
When 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.
|Date of creation:||1999|
|Publication status:||Published in Journal of Law and Economics, 44(2), Part I, October 2001|
|Note:||Published as: Santore, Rudy and Alan D. Viard (2001), "Legal Fee Restrictions, Moral Hazard, and Attorney Profits," Journal of Law and Economics 44 (2): 549-572.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.dallasfed.org/|
More information through EDIRC
|Order Information:|| Email: |
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- 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 349-367, October.
- Steven Shavell, 1979. "Risk Sharing and Incentives in the Principal and Agent Relationship," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 55-73, Spring.
- 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.
- Daniel F. Rubinfeld & Suzanne Scotchmer, 1993. "Contingent Fees for Attorneys: An Economic Analysis," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(3), pages 343-356, Autumn.
- Hay, Bruce L, 1997. "Optimal Contingent Fees in a World of Settlement," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(1), pages 259-278, January.
- Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
- Patricia Munch Danzon, 1983. "Contingent Fees for Personal Injury Litigation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(1), pages 213-224, Spring.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:feddwp:99-12. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Amy Chapman)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.