Missouri And Illinois - Personal Injury Lawyer Contingency Fees - What Do You Owe If You Discharge Your Lawyer

Illinois applies the same standard as Missouri. In Illinois an attorney who was retained on a contingency contract and is subsequently discharged is limited to recovery under Quantum Meruit. Hofreiter v. Leigh, 124 Ill. App 3d 1052. The fee to which you are entitled is calculated by time spent on the case in performing legitimate legal services for the client and multiplying that by a reasonable hourly rate. John v. Klecan, 198 Ill. App. 3d 1013, 1019.

Under Missouri law, an attorney discharged without good cause has a right to a reasonable fee for services rendered. The discharge of an attorney employed under a contingent fee contract will work a termination of the contingent fee agreement. Plaza Shoe Store, Inc. v. Hermel, Inc., 636 S.W.2d 53 (Mo. banc 1982). In Plaza Shoe Store the Supreme Court of Missouri held that an attorney working on a contingent fee contract who is discharged by the client without cause is entitled to recover the reasonable value of his services, as measured by his normal hourly rate and the amount of hours put into working on the case.

People often rush to hire a personal injury lawyer based on the recommendation of a friend or relative and sometimes find that they are not satisfied with their attorney or come to find that a different attorney has more experience in injury law. Many lawyers who do not handle a lot of personal injury cases take personal injury cases. So if you find you want to hire a lawyer with more experience in injury law but are afraid of what you will owe the previous lawyer and that changing lawyers will mean less money for you, do not worry, the law is on your side.

Once a personal injury lawyer is discharged (for cause or just because) the contract is legally void and the attorney has a lien for the reasonable time he or she has put into the case multiplied by a reasonable hourly fee. If the case comes to me after you discharge your lawyer I will satisfy the previous lawyers fee out of my fee, therefore, you the client will not be disadvantaged financially for switching lawyers and in most cases you will receive more money as a better result may be obtained,as we have in the past made millions on cases rejected by other lawyers who did not know how to recognize the issues that mattered most.