Can a lawyer tack on additional fees even when they have received their 33% for services rendered?

UPDATED: Dec 14, 2013

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Can a lawyer tack on additional fees even when they have received their 33% for services rendered?

On my final pay out all companies were paid including my lawyer, and I noticed additional fees added in the statement with their 33% fee, Prior to me receiving my monies. I thought all fees an attorney receives is included in the 33% take they agreed on. Nothing was done by my lawyer once the settlement was agreed to. However he charged an additional $12,000 in fees that was never disclosed. nor has he since disclosed the details of the fees mentioned.

Asked on December 14, 2013 under Personal Injury, Arkansas


Gregory Abbott / Consumer Law Northwest

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You have an absolute right to know how your bill was calculated and what you were charged for.  Period.  That said, there are often additional costs that a client is charged for over and above for just the attorneys time, which is normally what the 1/3 contingency covers.  You should have a written fee agreement with the attorney and it should specify in exact detail what you will be charged for and what you won't (or, what is included in the 1/3 fee).  IF your attorney is attempting to charge you for something that is not in your fee agreement, you may have a legitimate complaint.  Review your fee agreement; talk with the attorney, first to clearly understand what the charges are for and who performed the services charged for, and secondly to see if you can work out a solution that is satisfactory for both of you.  If not, you can see another attorney about where to go from there.  Many State Bar Associations maintain a fee dispute program for just such situations, so talk with your's.  Further, if it is clearly an inappropriate charge, you may have an ethics violation claim with your local Bar Association.  Normally you make the complaint and agree to testify if necessary and they take it from there and go after the attorney on their dime instead of your's.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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