Frequently asked questions
Why is it so hard for me to find an attorney to take my case?
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I want to sue someone. Will you take the case on contingency? And is it completely free to me?
Contigency fees work in situations where you suffered damages because of someone or some entity's negligence, and money is the appropriate or only way to make things right. The main benefit to you is that an attorney has an absolute incentive to fight for the highest possible award.
You've heard the commericals say "you don't pay unless we win", which is true. But in all cases, ethical rules prohibit attorneys from financing litigation. This means that you will ultimately be responsible for actual costs - filing fees, depositions, transcripts, expert witnesses, etc. Taking on a contigency fee case is a gamble for any lawyer; the higher the stakes, the more expensive it is to play.
All lawyers evaluate cases on 1) probability to prevail, 2) the potential award justifies the amount of time it would take to litigate the case, and 3) the likelihood that if successful, the lawyer will actually receive the money from the opposing party. When either of those factors are in doubt, most attorneys will decline to take a case on contingency.
Because I am a small firm, I do not have the capital or support staff to adequately handle complex or high dollar value litigation. Instead, I focus on litigation under $25,000 - matters too low in value for many litigation firms to handle. Some causes of action provide for attorney fees by statute, and when that is the case, I'll certainly engage in a contingency fee arrangement. More often, I employ a hybrid fee approach that provides me a reduced percentage in exchange for a discounted hourly rate.
Do you take pro bono cases?
Lawyers pride themselves on contributions to the community. The various bar associations encourage each lawyer to provide 50 hours of pro bono legal services.
I accept pro bono work through some community partners: specifically Legal Aid of Western Michigan. If you need a lawyer and cannot afford one, I encourage you to contact your local legal aid association or bar association, who may refer your case to a willing attorney.