Employment Law

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Contingency Fee Retainer Agreement?

A contingency fee arrangement is one that pays the attorney a percentage of what you recover. You may have heard some variation of the saying, “we don’t get paid unless you get paid.”  The percentage varies, but it is often 35 – 40% of the total recovery.   Employment cases also offer a fee-shifting contingency where the attorney is paid by the employer at the end of the case. The Madison Law, PLLC contingency fee agreement allows us to recover the larger of the two amounts – either 40% of the total recovery, or the attorney fees paid by the defendant.  Under this arrangement clients may end up paying a lot more than they would if paying an hourly or flat rate.  However, we understand that this type of arrangement may be preferred or the only option for some of our clients.

What is an Hourly Retainer Agreement?

An hourly retainer is just like the name suggests. An attorney is paid an hourly rate for their work. The advantage of this model is the client only pays for the work the attorney performs. The disadvantage is the amount of work needed to complete the client’s case may vary. The client’s claims may be resolved quickly, or the matter may drag on for an extended period of time.  Also, as the work flow in a client’s matter ebbs and flows so will the firm’s monthly charges.  The bills may be high one month and small the next.

What is a Flat-Fee Retainer Agreement?

A flat-fee retainer allows the client to pay a flat rate for legal services.  It is a guarantee the client will only pay a certain amount, no matter how long or short our representation lasts. The client deposits one fee and our firm withdraws as the attorney completes certain phases. For example, the firm will withdraw a portion when it completes the demand letter, another if it negotiates a settlement, and so on. That way, our clients only pay for a particular phase or if we resolve their case.  The firm may offer flat-fee litigation on a case-by-case basis.

How Much Does a Flat-Fee Retainer Cost?

Flat-fee negotiations for pre-litigation employment cases that do not involve filing an administrative charge (with the EEOC) is $7,500. This amount is similar to a $5,000 hourly retainer. The additional $2,500 is a success fee which is only paid if we are able to negotiate some form of a settlement agreement.  Our firm’s flat fee for cases that involve filing a charge with the EEOC is $10,500. 

Does My Case Qualify for a Contingency Fee Retainer?

We take cases on a contingency fee retainer that have the following characteristics:

  • There is Clear Liability – An example would be documentation, multiple witnsses or a video recording demonstrating the discrimination, harassment, or other liability.
  • Shocking Conduct by the Employer – The employer’s conduct was so egregious that it shocks the conscience.  An example may be a boss who says, “I don’t like members of the LGBTQ+ community, so you’re fired.”
  • No Negative Work History – The clients we take on a contingency basis have no prior history of problems at work.
  • The Client has Suffered Significant Damages –The client has lost their job, and they made a significant amount of money. And/or the client suffers significant emotional distress as documented by a health-care professional.

Even if your case meets most or all of the above descriptions, it does not guarantee that we will offer a contingency-fee retainer agreement.  It also depends on our firm’s availability and current caseload.

How Much Does an Hourly Retainer Cost?

We require a deposit of $6,000 to retain the firm at our hourly rate.  The firm will put these funds into a trust account where it will remain yours until work is performed. The attorney will bill against the retainer at an hourly rate.  Once the retainer drops below $3,000, you will be required to replenish the retainer until the representation ends. Any money remaining in the trust account at the end of the representation will be returned to you. You may end the representation at any time and for any reason. The firm will provide you with monthly invoices detailing the work performed and any funds withdrawn.

What is a Hybrid Retainer Agreement?

Our hybrid retainer agreements are a combination of either: (a) a reduced Contingency Fee PLUS a small Flat-Fee, or (b) a reduced Contingency Fee PLUS a reduced Hourly Rate. 

How Much Does a Hybrid Retainer Cost?

Under our hybrid contingency agreement, the client agrees to pay either a fee of $2,500 plus a smaller percentage of the total gross recovery; or they pay a reduced hourly rate (usually $200 – $250 per hour) plus a smaller percentage of the total gross recovery. Clients who select the hybrid fee agreement may be required to pay an additional fee of $2,500 if an administrative charge is filed with the EEOC.

Contact Madison Law today so we can begin reviewing your claim now.

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