“They have to pay my attorney’s fees right?”
That is the infamous question everyone wants to know.Typically, after
meeting with an attorney and learning that you may have some actionable
claims against your former employer, your first thought may be: “how will I
afford to go after my former employer?” and “if I do spend my
savings/retirement funds in litigating, they have to pay my attorney’s fees,
There’s no right answer to th ese questions. Usually you have the right to
file for attorney’s fees if the statue you are filing under provides for
attorney’s fees. However, if you reach a settlement short of a jury trial,
employers are hesitant, and often will not want to pay your attorney’s fees.
Most settlement agreements include language such as “inclusive of attorney’s
fees,” meaning the amount you accept includes whatever you have paid or have
agreed to pay your attorney.
Keep in mind, even after a jury rules in favor of your case, your attorney
still has to file a motion for attorney’s fees. Therefore, simply because
you are victorious at trial still does not mean your attorney’s fees and
costs may be reimbursed.
So how should you handle these concerns? Speak clearly to your attorney and
read thoroughly your retainer. Your attorney may be willing to represent you
on a contingency basis (aside from a minimum fee charge), which means the
attorney will collect a percentage of what you settle for, or win at trial.
This type of arrangement may sometimes give attorneys a bad rap, but such
opinions are short sighted. Attorneys do not agree to represent their
clients on a contingency basis to harm their client, they do it for the
complete opposite reason. An a ttorney’s hourly rate can range anywhere from
$200 to $800 an hour. And an attorney can easily spend over 100 hours
representing you for as short as year. Therefore, rather than charging you
such a rate (which many cannot afford) , they agree to represent you on a
contingency basis ; m eaning you do not pay them for everything they do on
your case, you only share with them a portion of the final recovery. Most
importantly, the Florida Bar reg ulates what that percentage should be ;
therefore, if you feel your attorney may be collecting more than they
should, check the Florida Bar website to assure they are following the most
updated approved rates.
To conclude, it is important to always keep costs in mind and make sure you
can afford each and every endeavor you plan to take with litigation .
However, relying on having a judge rule that you are entitled to recover you
r attorney’s fees is not the only way to afford an attorney. At Wilson McCoy, P.A., we work with each of our clients’ within their respective budget s ,
to help them establish a retainer payment plan that they can afford. You do
not have to be rich to afford an attorney. If you believe you may have a
case against your employer, give us a call at 407-803-5400 , or e-mail us
at [email protected] ,
for an analysis of your situation and to schedule a consultation with one of
our attorneys to see how we can help with your employment issue.