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richanne96
richanne96, Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
Satisfied Customers: 280
Experience:  Attorney in private practice in Phoenix, AZ
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IN California: There are 2 attorneys were working on the

Customer Question

IN California: There are 2 attorneys were working on the personal injury case one after the other on the contigency. In the conttact of the first attorney, he had fees 1/3 on contigency and attached a lien for his services. The second after him had in
the contract 1/3 on contigency and attatched a lien for their services. It appears that successor and predecessor attorneys must proportionally share the fee award, and it cannot be passed on to the client. That is both attorneys should share between themselves
1/3 of the gross amount. It is NOT like the second attorney has 1/3 of gross and the fist has an extra lien on top of the 1/3 from the gross. How does the fee sharing work? Some refernces: ---------------------------------------------------- “The discharged
contingent fee attorney also shares the total contingent fee earned with successor counsel, as there may only be a single contingent fee paid by the client. If that contingent fee is insufficient to cover the full quantum meruit claims of discharged and existing
counsel, the attorneys must allocate the fee between themselves based on a formula which pro rates the contingent fee among all discharged and existing attorneys “in proportion ”Spires, 158 Cal. App. 3d at 216; see also In re Van Sickle, No. 99O12923, 2006
WL(###) ###-####(Rev. Dep’t 2006).” The case cited by the article, Spires v. American Bus Lines (1984) 158 Cal.App.3d 211 states: “The rule is based upon the premise that a client should not be forced to pay a discharged attorney the compensation called for in
the contract, since that amount may reflect neither value received nor services performed and could result in double payment of fees first to the discharged and then to a new attorney. ( Fracasse, supra., 6 Cal.3d at p. 791; Abrams, supra., 39 Cal.App.3d at
p. 609.) The court explained: “[W]e find no injustice in a rule awarding a discharged attorney the reasonable value of the services he has rendered up to the time of discharge. In doing so, we preserve the client's right to discharge his attorney without undue
restriction, and yet acknowledge the attorney's right to fair compensation for work performed.” ( Fracasse, supra., 6 Cal.3d at p. 791, fn. omitted.) We agree with appellant that where, as here, the contingent fee is insufficient to meet the quantum meruit
claims of both discharged and existing counsel, the proper application of the Fracasse rule is to use an appropriate pro rata formula which distributes the contingent fee among all discharged and existing attorneys in proportion to the time spent on the case
by each ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------“The discharged contingent fee attorney also shares the total contingent fee earned with
successor counsel, as there may only be a single contingent fee paid by the client. If that contingent fee is insufficient to cover the full quantum meruit claims of discharged and existing counsel, the attorneys must allocate the fee between themselves based
on a formula which pro rates the contingent fee among all discharged and existing attorneys “in proportion ”Spires, 158 Cal. App. 3d at 216; see also In re Van Sickle, No. 99O12923, 2006 WL(###) ###-####(Rev. Dep’t 2006).” The case cited by the article, Spires
v. American Bus Lines (1984) 158 Cal.App.3d 211 states: “The rule is based upon the premise that a client should not be forced to pay a discharged attorney the compensation called for in the contract, since that amount may reflect neither value received nor
services performed and could result in double payment of fees first to the discharged and then to a new attorney. ( Fracasse, supra., 6 Cal.3d at p. 791; Abrams, supra., 39 Cal.App.3d at p. 609.) The court explained: “[W]e find no injustice in a rule awarding
a discharged attorney the reasonable value of the services he has rendered up to the time of discharge. In doing so, we preserve the client's right to discharge his attorney without undue restriction, and yet acknowledge the attorney's right to fair compensation
for work performed.” ( Fracasse, supra., 6 Cal.3d at p. 791, fn. omitted.) We agree with appellant that where, as here, the contingent fee is insufficient to meet the quantum meruit claims of both discharged and existing counsel, the proper application of
the Fracasse rule is to use an appropriate pro rata formula which distributes the contingent fee among all discharged and existing attorneys in proportion to the time spent on the case by each.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Personal Injury Law
Expert:  richanne96 replied 1 year ago.
The first attorney should submit a bill for the value of the services he provided. He does this by creating a billing statement as if he had been in the case on a billable hour basis. He thus calculates the value of his work. If the 1/3 contingent fee is not enough to cover the value of each attorney's time spent on the case, then they have to divide up the 1/3 contingent fee based on the percentage of work they did. So if the first attorney did 75% if the work, he would get 75% of the one-third contingency fee and the second attorney would get 25% of it.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you.
Expert:  richanne96 replied 1 year ago.
If you are happy with my answer, please give me a positive rating so I can be paid.