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The Contingency Fee Allows Justice for All

Nearly every legal publication is doing its year-end review of how the economy has affected the law firms that earn revenue through the billable hour. The economy has slowed the ordinary rate increase that law firms normally implemented from year to year. For example, The National Law Journal's annual survey of billing rates showed that "this year's national average firm-wide billing rate, a combination of partner and associate rates, grew by 2.5% during 2009 to $372." This is relatively small increase considering that in 2008 firms reported a 4.3% increase in billable rates. In 2007, firms reported a 7.7% rate increase. The economy and the clients that hire firms based on the billable hour drove the decrease in rate growth.

Firms such as Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend often represent injured victims and businesses through an alternative approach. Rather than bill the client $372 an hour, Abraham Watkins usually represents its clients through a contingency agreement. This contract for legal services allows a client to receive legal representation without having to pay a large retainer or satisfy invoices for legal work performed. Rather, the contingency fee only allows the attorney to be financially compensated if he or she is able to obtain a recovery for the client. The attorney fee is based on a percentage of the total recovery. Obviously, if the attorney is unable to reach a settlement or verdict for the client, the attorney is not compensated. This type of fee and expense agreement aligns the attorney's interest with that of the client, which is to obtain the best recovery possible. The more that the attorney is able to get for the client, the more the attorney is compensated.

This type of agreement not only aligns the parties' interests, it also allows clients, which do not have the financial resources available to pay $372 an hour, access and avenues to justice. Indeed, without the contingency agreement, many clients would be unable to afford to hire an attorney through the life-cycle of litigation, which can, and often does, take well over a year to reach completion. In essence, the contingency fee allows justice for all.

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Awards & Recognition

  • 2016-2017 Equal Access to Justice Champion

    The Equal Access to Justice Champions Program was started by the Houston Bar Association in 2006, to help ensure placement of Houston Volunteer Lawyers cases with pro bono volunteers. Originally, firms were tiered according to size, and firms within each tier committed to accept a certain number of pro bono cases from HVL each year for five years.

  • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers

    The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 is an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state or region who meet stringent qualifications as civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense trial lawyers. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase objective and uniformly applied process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.

  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum

    Established in 1993, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum (which includes the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum) is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. There are over 4000 members throughout the country. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers America | Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz | 2017

    Recognition by Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review. Their methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area.

  • Lead Counsel Rated

    In order to earn the Lead Counsel Rating, an attorney must not only demonstrate significant legal experience, but must also receive multiple peer recommendations advocating his or her ability. This is a key component in the screening process.

  • Texas Super Lawyers | Texas Monthly

    Each year, Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in Texas via a patented multiphase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation. The Texas lawyers who receive the highest point totals during this selection process are further recognized in Texas Super Lawyers Top Lists.

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  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented nearly 100 victims who suffered personal injuries and damages to property from a large fire and explosion resulting in a settlement of more than $50 million. The firm served as lead lawyers on the steering committee in this litigation.

  • $80 Million Personal Injury Large Plant Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 270 plaintiffs', taking a lead role in the plaintiffs' steering committee, who suffered injuries in a large plant explosion resulting in a settlement of nearly $80 million.

  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Plant Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 45 personal injury victims in a plant fire and explosion, serving on the plaintiffs' steering committee, concluding with a settlement of more than $50 million.

  • $22+ Million Personal Injury Work Site Accident

    The firm prevailed in a personal injury trial for a worksite injury client with the jury returning a verdict and resulting in a judgment of over $22 million for the firm's client.

  • $12 Million Auto Accident 18-Wheeler Collision

    The firm successfully achieved a $12 million settlement for the family of a man who died in an 18 wheeler collision.

  • $30 Million Personal Injury Burn Victims

    The firm prevailed on behalf of three burn victims with settlements totaling nearly $30 million.

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When you are hurt and you choose a law firm to represent you in court or at the negotiation table, you need to carefully consider the firm's record.

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