Need A Contingent Fee Contract?

Since my publication of my two prior contract forms, hourly and flat fee, I have had numerous calls and emails requesting a contingency form contract so, here it is. As most lawyers in Kentucky are well aware, any type of contingency fee (in all cases where contingency fees are permissible), requires a written contract with the client. There is no exception nor is there any excuse for not having obtained a written contract in a contingency fee case. Over the past twenty-five (25) years, I have compiled all of the best terms of every contingency fee contract I could find. While yet again I do not submit that this written contingency fee contract is one bit better than that of any other lawyer, it does give you an overview of what to look for in writing and preparing your own written contingency fee contract. Feel free to use and improve on it!


 _________________________________ (referred to in this contract as Client) of _______________________ County, Kentucky, requests and authorizes Attorney_______________________________(referred to in this contract as Attorney), located at ___________________________, to represent Client as his/her Attorney in fact and in law as related to _______________________________________________ (e.g., “a divorce proceeding between X and Y for which Attorney will conduct negotiations and make court appearances necessary to securing separation, custody, property and dissolution agreements, including a final decree, but not including an appeal”) and against all additional persons, firms, or corporations who may appear to be related to this case.


 Compensation for Attorney’s services shall be based on a contingent-fee arrangement.

(1) The contingent fee shall be based on a percentage of the actual recovery, before all expenses indicated in I(3) and (5) have been deducted.

(2) The contingent fee rate will be forty (40%) percent (OR)

  1. percent ( % of the first                     Dollars ($             ) of the award.
  2. percent ( % of the next                     Dollars ($             ) of the award.
  3. percent ( % of the award that exceeds                    Dollars ($             ).

(3) If it is necessary to incur certain court costs in order to complete this case successfully. Client agrees to pay for all additional court costs at the following rates:

o Filing fees                             $         per          

o Deposition fees                         $         per          

o Fees for court reporter                 $         per          

o Charges for transcripts                 $         per          

o Subpoena fees                           $         per          

o Fees for expert witnesses               $         per          

(4) Attorney estimates that these court costs will not exceed the sum of                   Dollars ($         ).

(5) Client also agrees to pay for any of the additional costs checked below at the following rates:

o Charges for local phone calls           $         per          

o Charges for postage (e.g., registered mail)      $         per          

o Long distance phone charges             $         per          

o Document search and file (including computer time)         $         per          

o Special research or investigation (e.g., private investigator)   $         per          

o Travel         $         per          

o Other                                  $         per          

(6) Attorney estimates additional costs listed in I(5) will not exceed the sum of                   Dollars ($       ).

(7) Attorney shall pay all personal and travel expenses incurred with Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky. Client shall pay all personal and travel expenses incurred outside of Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky.

(8) The total estimated additional costs required for the completion of this case are $           . If the case is settled before a decision of the court, these additional costs will be reduced accordingly.

(9) Client may be requested to advance in part or in full the funds required to meet these costs. If so, this prepayment is designated as the “retainer” in Section II.

(10) Client will not be liable for any additional costs which exceed the estimate given in I(8) unless Attorney notifies client of the additional expenses required and receives permission of Client before incurring the additional costs.

(11) If the case is lost, Client is liable only for the costs incurred within the limits determined by I(8) and I(11) (if applicable).

(12) The decision to appeal against the verdict of the court is the exclusive right of Client.

(13) Attorney is given a special or charging lien on the claim or cause of action, on any sum recovered by way of settlement, and on any judgment that may be recovered, for the sum mentioned above as his fee. That is, Client is not free to use any portion of the recovery for personal purposes until Attorney’s fee is paid. In any event, if collection of attorney fees, costs, or expenses becomes necessary, Client agrees to pay all reasonable attorney fees, costs and expenses incurred in the collection of same pursuant to KRS 411.195.

(14) Costs and expenses incurred by Attorney in advancing Client’s cause are to be borne by Client. All costs which are not covered by funds advanced by Client to Attorney will be paid by Client in periodic billings.

(15) If Client settles the claim without consent of Attorney, Client will pay Attorney a fee computed in accordance with the terms of this agreement and based on the final recovery by Client in the settlement, and Client will reimburse Attorney for all advances made for costs and other expenses.


 (1)    There will be no billing arrangement except as set forth heretofore and hereinafter.


 (1) Copies of pleadings, briefs, memoranda and relevant correspondence will be provided to client upon request.

(2) Attorney shall freely and frankly discuss the strategy and progress of the case with Client upon request. Attorney will consult and obtain permission of Client before taking any action which may significantly affect the outcome or cost of the proceedings.

(3) Attorney will not under any circumstance agree to settle a case without the prior consent of Client.

(4) Withdrawal from representation by Attorney is mandatory upon discharge by Client.


 (1) Client agrees to disclose truthfully all relevant information to Attorney upon request.

(2) Client will make (himself/herself) and any documents, persons or things under the client’s control available to Attorney at reasonable times and places for such conferences, inspections, discussions and legal proceedings as may be necessary from time to time.

(3) Client will promptly notify Attorney of any change in Client’s address or phone number.

(4) In an effort to increase client participation and to reduce costs, Client will, at the direction of the Attorney, perform these tasks: (e.g., locating evidence, contacting witnesses, filing documents with court clerk, etc. See Chapter 1.)

(5) Failure of Client to seek counsel of Attorney, before taking any action which may affect the course or resolution of the case represents sufficient grounds for Attorney withdrawal from employment.

(6) Attorney may withdraw from employment with notice to Client for any reason.

(7) In the event of withdrawal, Attorney will withdraw in writing.

(8) Client agrees to immediately pay any and all retainers, bills, costs and expenses when presented. Failure to pay any of the foregoing shall result in Attorney’s withdrawal from the case.


 (1) Attorney and Client recognize the benefits of maintaining a harmonious working relationship. Both agree to discuss openly any cause of dissatisfaction and to seek reconciliation. Client will not be billed for this discussion.

(2) Should either party believe itself to be seriously wronged or believe that the terms of this contract have been substantially violated, resolution shall be sought through binding arbitration by a third party mutually agreed to by both Attorney and Client.

(3) Should it become necessary to calculate Attorney’s work on an hourly basis to resolve any dispute, the parties agree that all work performed by attorney shall be calculated at Attorney’s normal hourly rate of Four Hundred ($400) per hour in this case.


No promises or warranties have been made by Attorney with respect to the successful termination of this case. All expressions made by Attorney about the possible outcome of the case are matters of Attorney’s opinion only.


 The laws of the State of Kentucky shall govern the construction and interpretation of this agreement. Any litigation arising out of any instance regarding this case or this case itself shall only be commenced in Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky, notwithstanding any other possible venues or forums.


 This contract is valid only with regard to the case described above through settlement and a maximum of one (1) trial. An appeal of this case to a higher court, or retrial before a similar court, or re-litigation of any of the issues herein litigated or settled, will require a separate employment contract before any such work is performed by Attorney.

This contract has been read, understood, signed and attested on this       day of                    , 2015, by the undersigned.

ATTORNEY      _______________________________________

CLIENTS                                             __________________________