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The Impact of Fee Arrangement on Lawyer Effort

Herbert M. Kritzer, William L.F. Felstiner, Austin Sarat and David M. Trubek
Law & Society Review
Vol. 19, No. 2 (1985), pp. 251-278
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Law and Society Association
DOI: 10.2307/3053456
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3053456
Page Count: 28
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The Impact of Fee Arrangement on Lawyer Effort
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Abstract

This paper focuses on the impact of fee arrangement on the amount of time lawyers are likely to devote to civil cases ("effort"). Drawing upon data collected by the Civil Litigation Research Project, we compare the behavior of lawyers working on an hourly fee basis with the behavior of contingent fee lawyers. Like previous work on this issue, the paper finds that fee arrangement does influence the amount of effort lawyers devote to a given case. However, contrary to previous work, the analysis indicates that the effect is not a simple effect on hours worked but a more complex effect on a number of aspects of lawyers' behavior. Together these produce an effect on hours that varies by size of case. For modest cases (with stakes of $6,000 or less), contingent fee lawyers spend less time on a case than hourly fee lawyers. Yet we find no statistically significant evidence of a differential in effort for larger cases but rather an indication that, if there is an effect, it may be in the opposite direction.

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