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Seven Rights of Contingency Fee Clients

Before you sign a contingency fee agreement with a lawyer, you should understand your rights as a client.  This statement is not part of the contract between you and the lawyer, but you should be aware of your rights:

1.  A contingent fee must be in writing and must state the percentage of the recovery that will be calculated as the fee.

    For personal injury matters, Mr. Sudekum's fee is one-third of the gross recovery.  For complex injury claims, the percentage of the recovery may increase or be set by the court.  In workers compensation cases, Mr. Sudekum's fee is 25% of the amount recovered for Missouri cases and 20% of the amount recovered for Illinois cases.  The fee on other types of cases is determined on a case by case basis.

2.  Before hiring a lawyer, you have the right to know about the lawyer's education, training and experience.

    For more information, we invite you to review

3.  Your lawyer should inform you if the lawyer intends to counsel with lawyers outside the lawyer's firm to handle your case.  If so, another agreement identifying the fee sharing arrangement should be signed by you and the lawyers involved in the case.

    If Mr. Sudekum determines that a co-counsel arrangement is in the best interest of the case, he will advise you immediately.

4.  You have the right to know how the expenses and legal fees will be paid out of the case.  

    On most contingency fee cases handled by Mr. Sudekum, the expenses and legal fees are deducted from the gross recovery.  If there is no recovery, then the client is not responsible for fees or expenses.

5.  You have the right to receive a closing statement at the end of your case that lists all of the financial details of your case, such as the amount recovered, all expenses, and a precise statement of the attorney fee.

    More importantly, these amounts are discussed with you during settlement negotiations so you can make an informed decision before settling your case.

6.  You have the right to ask your lawyer at reasonable intervals how the case is progressing.

    Mr. Sudekum encourages his clients to contact him with questions whenever they arise.

7.  You have the right to make the final decision regarding the settlement of your case.  Your lawyer should provide guidance whether to accept a settlement, however, you must make the final decision to accept or reject any offer.

    In fact, Mr. Sudekum's contract explicitly states this right.

If you have any questions or have specific questions relating to  your agreement with Michael Sudekum, please contact him.