I went to a lawyer and after discussing my situation about a wage and hour claim, he agreed to represent me on a contingency basis. My understanding was, he is charging 33 percent of what we can get. When I got home, I reviewed the agreement I signed and found out she actually was charging 44 percent. When I called the lawyer to ask about the contingency fee, I was told that on top of the 44 percent, she would also ask the court for an award of attorney's fee. I heard that on cases like this, the attorney would get the greater of the award for attorney's fee or the contingency fee. So, if I get awarded for 20,000 and the court awarded 10,000 for attorney's fee, I keep the 20, 000 and the attorney get the 10,000 awarded by the court.
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): California
None. The Defendant requesting for documents and a deposition scheduled in two weeks. Can I still find another attorney to represent me?
Yes you can change attorneys if you want to.My opinion is that if you are awarded $20,000 plus $10,000 for attorney fees, the attorney would be entitled to the agreed percentage ($8800) of the $20,000 and you would keep the other $10,000. But it depends on the exact language of the fee agreement, seehttp://ethics.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/9/documents/Opinions/2009-176.pdfIf the fee agreement says that "Attorney shall be paid a contingent fee or the statutoryaward, whichever is greater", then you would keep the $20,000 and the lawyer would take the other $10,000.http://www.calattorneysfees.com/cases-employment/states: The Second District, Division 3, in Henry M. Lee Law Corp. v. Superior Court (Chang), Case No. B235305 (2d Dist., Div. 3 Apr. 16, 2012) (certified for publication), decided that a $300,000 fee award under Labor Code wage/hour/itemized wage statement fee-shifting provisions should be made payable to the attorney, not the client, in the absence of the fee agreement dictating otherwise. In doing so, the Appellate panel applied the reasoning from Flannery v. Prentice, 26 Cal.4th 572, 578-581 (2001), a FEHA case. It issued mandate to vacate an order denying attorney’s motion to make the recovery payable to his law corporation.Your rights in this situation largely depend on the exact language of the fee agreement.Any time there is a fee dispute with a California attorney, the client has the right to demand Arbitration, seehttp://www.calbar.ca.gov/Attorneys/MemberServices/FeeArbitration.aspx andhttp://www.cccba.org/community/pdf/arb-advice-client.pdfI hope this information is helpful.
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