Lawsuit Costs and Fees

Subject: Political
Type: Informative Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 909
Topics: Government, Finance, Management, Public Policy

Emerging legal questions have often centered on the demand for a system by which law costs are determined. However, lacking a proper system, most court cases rely on the American system which highlights that each side should pay their own legal fees. While this may seem beneficial to the losing side, it often also has its own disadvantages.  According to Ribstein (1998) the most significant disadvantage is that it can allow for court cases to drag on for much longer than is necessary. This is simply because, losers can afford to drag the case into appeal and continuously present motions that might seem unnecessary. In addition because the lawyers are also determined to gain as much as they can from the singular client, they are not in a hurry to present and find a conclusion to pending court cases.  Lawyers may prefer to keep away from hard bargaining tactics which could easily conclude the case.  

Secondly in a case where each individual is addressing their own legal fees, it is often difficult to access the legal fees aid. This is simply because it is assumed that the individual was aware of the nature of finances that would be required to adequately present the case and find a reasonable conclusion. As such, financial aid should have been planned for in advance. Where the loser is burdened with payment of legal fees however, it is assumed that the same could not have been planned for and they may therefore not be in a position to complete such payment. Financial aid can therefore be accessed through trade unions and other interested parties to assist with the same. This is also a benefit to the lawyers who can then be assured of payment of their fees. 

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Majority of client solicitor relationships have suffered unduly due to continued strive over payment of fees. Following a lack of trust, some lawyers may demand upfront payment of deposits and a percentage of the legal fees before presenting the case. This is charged as part of the retainer, yet the client is not assured of winning or finding legal redress to their problem. Stempell and Maniloff (2015) finds that for many lawyers, a major challenge comes in the collection of fees especially where the judgment was against their client. Such clients feel that the lawyers have not earned the required fees. They often imagine that such fees are paid not for presentation of the case in the best way possible but to win the case. Failure to win therefore means that the lawyers are burdened with extra fees for debt collection and payment demands. This is why they require payment of invoices upon presentation and completion of each singular service. In this way, the lawyers are able to avoid collection of much larger fees and endure less loss on the same.  However such demands are often burdensome to the clients who may have to go into debt in order to make and meet the payments of the lawyers and for their cases to progress. Cases may therefore be delayed on the simple premise that the lawyers are yet to be paid. Blake and Moschieri, (2017) point out another aspect, where the losing side is left to suffer on their own. Whereas this may speed up the case, as lawyers can only be paid once the verdict has been heard, it also has its own weakness. The fee payment may take too long to complete. Further, the lawyers have hard time demanding fee payment, with the loser’s representatives feeling and often demanding the first right of payment. On the other side the winning side is now burdened with the problem of following a client hat they had no contract with, and whose financial status they might not have been aware of. It is also important to consider that the court verdict can rarely be predicted and each side hires lawyers and presents what they think is a winning argument and court case. Losing therefore is not something they are prepared for, let alone making arrangement for the payment of what could be exorbitant fees. In fact majority of the lawyers are often unwilling to take up cases which would require the loser to pay legal fees. This is because of the challenge of following up the fees, a challenge that could require even more resources than the court case itself. 

Although there are several systems for addressing the law costs and payment, each with its own advantages, the most beneficial to all parties seems to be each side paying for itself. This allows the client as well as the lawyer to determine the actual terms of their contract and terms of payment beforehand. Each party is therefore aware of what their obligations are the matter they are to address which then means that they can make adequate plans for the same. However, in this reign of liberal rules where law costs and terms of agreement are not governed the lawyers have often been accused of taking advantage of the client’s desperation and need to earn much more than is justifiable. 

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  1. Blake, D. J., & Moschieri, C. (2017). Policy risk, strategic decisions and contagion effects: Firmspecific considerations. Strategic Management Journal, 38(3), 732-750.
  2. Ribstein, L. E. (1998). Ethical rules, agency costs, and law firm structure. Virginia Law Review, 1707-1759.
  3. Stempel, J. W., & Maniloff, R. (2015). General Liability Insurance Coverage: Key Issues in Every State. CreateSpace.
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