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Ultimately a contingency fee agreement depends on the wording of the agreement itself. It should clearly state the percentage that the attorney is going to get, how costs are allocated, etc... Most contingency fee agreements will take the expenses off the top, then have 1/3 go to the attorney and 2/3 go to the client (assuming a 1/3 contingency, of course). But it could be that the expenses get paid by the client's share, so that it's 2/3 minus the expenses, and a full 1/3 goes to the attorney.
Now the check will get paid to the attorney, which will go into that attorney's client trust account (or a specific trust account, if applicable).
Then the attorney will send a bill and generally seek approval of the bill and proposed distribution, but the attorney may distribute those funds that are clearly due to you and to the attorney, and could retain a portion that could be disputed (such as those for costs).
Again, this really depends on the language of the contingency fee agreement itself, in how the money is distributed. But all the attorneys I know will take possession of the payout from the other side, put it into trust, and pay it from the firm account.
What expenses ?
Filing fees, depositions, copying, fax, etc...
Most contingency fee agreements will take the expenses off the top
Expenses are different than attorney fees.
Expenses are those things that don't go to the attorney, but are actual costs of pursuing the lawsuit.
The attorney fees are those funds paid to the attorney, that the attorney gets to "take home".
The further you are in your litigation (i.e. if you have already filed the lawsuit, had depositions, etc...) the expenses would be higher.
Does that clear things up?
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