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Why Plaintiffs' Attorneys Use Contingent and Defense Attorneys Fixed Fee Contracts

Author

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  • Winand Emons
  • Claude Fluet

Abstract

Victims want to collect damages from injurers. Cases differ with respect to the judgment. Attorneys observe the expected judgment, clients do not. Victims need an attorney to sue; defense attorneys reduce the probability that the plaintiff prevails. Plaintiffs' attorneys offer contingent fees providing incentives to proceed with strong and drop weak cases. By contrast, defense attorneys work for fixed fees under which they accept all cases. Since the defense commits to fight all cases, few victims sue in the first place. We thus explain the fact that in the US virtually all plaintiffs use contingency while defendants tend to rely exclusively on fixed fees.

Suggested Citation

  • Winand Emons & Claude Fluet, 2013. "Why Plaintiffs' Attorneys Use Contingent and Defense Attorneys Fixed Fee Contracts," Diskussionsschriften dp1306, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  • Handle: RePEc:ube:dpvwib:dp1306
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    litigation; contingent fees; fixed fees; expert services;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • K41 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Litigation Process

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