FAQ (Types of Fee Agreements)

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.”  We use a sliding scale, that ranges from 33 and 1/3 – 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.  We have specific criteria to determine if a client’s case will qualify for representation under a pure contingency-fee agreement.

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 workflow 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 funds as the attorney completes certain phases.

What is a Mixed-Fee Retainer Agreement?

Our mixed-fee retainer is a combination of the Flat-Fee and Contingency Fee Retainer Agreements. Our client pays a modest flat-fee up front (with financing available), and we collect a smaller contingency-fee compared to many other law firms if the case settles, or we win at trial. This is the most affordable option for many clients to obtain our legal services compared to the flat-fee or hourly-fee retainers.

Does My Case Qualify for a Contingency Fee Retainer?

Your case must meet the following criteria to qualify for representation under a contingency fee retainer:

  • There is Clear Liability – An example would be documentation, multiple witnesses 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 client has no prior history of problems at work.
  • The Client has Suffered Significant Damages –The client has lost their job, and they earned a significant amount of money. And/or the client suffers significant emotional distress that has been 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?

For employment law cases, we require a minimum 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. 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.

Court Costs and Expenses

Court costs and expenses are the sole responsibility of the client and are billed as they become due. Madison Law, PLLC may advance these costs at our discretion. However, such advances will be scheduled for repayment or deducted from any recovery and returned to Madison Law, PLLC at the time of disbursement.

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