DO I NEED TO HAVE A WRITTEN AGREEMENT WITH MY ATTORNEY?

ANSWER: Yes, for your own benefit so that you know what the relationship is between you and your attorney. It is important for you to know exactly what matters in which your attorney is representing you, and it is also important to find out if there are matters in which the attorney is not representing you. In turn, most states’ ethical rules require attorneys representing clients on a contingent fee basis to enter into a written agreement. Be sure to read the attorney/client contract before you sign it and ask any questions so that you understand this arrangement. Most plaintiffs’ attorneys have a standard form contract that meets state ethical requirements and varies little from case to case. Two areas of particular note are the attorney fee percentages and how costs are handled. While attorney fees can and do vary by a few percentage points between firms, you should never pick an attorney solely on the basis of who has the lowest contingent fee. Sometimes better attorneys charge more.