Mr. Smoot will consider a variety of fee arrangements depending on the nature of the case and the financial situation of the client.
In a contingent fee arrangement, the client agrees to pay the attorney a certain percentage of the amount that the client recovers. The amount of the percentage depends on the nature and complexity of the legal malpractice case. If there is no recovery, the client owes the lawyer no fees. In a straight contingent fee case, expenses advanced by the lawyer in the prosecution of the case typically will be deducted from any gross recovery. In the event there is no recovery, the client will not be responsible for reimbursing the lawyer for any advanced case expenses.
In an hourly fee arrangement, the lawyer bills the client by the hour for legal fees at the current hourly rate. The client is also responsible for all reasonable case expenses. If the client has the financial ability to pay hourly and the legal malpractice case has a significant damages component, an hourly fee may very well result in the client paying a considerably lower total legal fee than in the straight contingent fee arrangement.
A hybrid fee arrangement combines a reduced hourly billing rate with a reduced percentage contingent fee rate. Such arrangements may be fairer to both sides because the client may very well pay a lesser fee if there is a recovery and the lawyer receives some fee regardless of result.