Litigiousness, Contract Design and the Economic Motives of the Contingent Fee Lawyer

by Sung-Ho Ahn


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Previous studies of the contingent fee contract between an attorney and client have relied on several unnecessarily simplistic assumptions. The author revised these assumptions and obtained the following results. First, a two-tiered, or sliding scale, contingent fee contract has implications in conflict with those resulting from a simple one-tier contract. Second, the total caseload of a contingent fee lawyer influences his economic motives and may reduce the welfare of some or all of his clients. Finally, the sliding scale contract can explain previous empirical findings comparing outcomes between cases involving contingent fee lawyers and those involving hourly fee lawyers.

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