Most clients can’t afford to pay an attorney on an hourly basis. That’s why the legal system includes the availability of contingency fee representation, which means that the attorney gets paid a portion of the recovery and collects no attorneys fees otherwise.
Contingency fee arrangements serve create several useful social goods. One, it allows people who have meritorious claims to get experienced counsel to take on their cases. These cases often take thousands of hours from beginning to end and very few people can afford an attorney’s hourly rate, multiplied by thousands of hours to get justice.
The contingency fee system allows the representation to occur with the attorney getting a percentage of the recovery and makes the client and the attorney partners, working against the harassing company. It allows a reasonable return for the attorney for the time and hours extended, while allowing a person access to justice without having to come out of pocket for thousands and thousands of dollars upfront.
Q: Should I get a second opinion if my lawyer is pressuring me to accept a settlement that I don’t want?
I recommend that you get a second opinion for several reasons. Because of the contingency fee system, attorneys have the incentive to recover as much as they can for their client. They want to maximize return for their client, because it maximizes the individual lawyer’s return as well. Sometimes these cases are highly emotional. When someone’s been a victim of harassment or other types of employment discrimination, they may rightfully feel that a settlement offer is not adequate to compensate for all the harm.
Although I’m sure most attorneys approach their obligation to their clients in good faith, it is reality that lawyers have different opinions about things. You should never be coerced into any type of settlement. Other lawyers are available to get a second opinion about the value of your case and we’re happy to help should you find yourself in that situation.