Posted On: December 28, 2006 by Donald B. Brenner

The Value of Contingency

Handling a major construction litigation case takes three to five years in most state courts–sometimes longer. A complex case with 50 or more defendants can cost upwards of $1 million in legal fees, plus hundreds of thousands more in expert fees and costs. Most clients cannot afford to finance such litigation. As a result, in appropriate cases, Stark & Stark's Construction Litigation Group will handle large, complex, multi-million dollar cases on a full or partial contingency. This decision is made on a case-by-case basis depending upon many considerations such as: (a) the facts; (b) the projected legal issues; (c) the insurance coverage issues that we can anticipate based upon our experience; (d) what experts will we need and approximately how much they will cost; (e) how long it will take and how much we think the case will cost to get to trial; and (e) what we think the range of anticipated recovery may be. This enables the association to minimize the need to upset the members of the association with enormous special assessments during the pendency of the litigation. It also enables counsel to assign all of the attorneys that it needs to the case without worrying about whether the client can afford it.

We are often able to assign two or more partners and multiple associates to complex construction litigation cases; therefore, we can move the cases ahead much more quickly than would ordinarily be the case if the client had to pay hourly for counsel's time. The client does not care how many attorneys work the case because the client is not paying hourly fees. In fact, the client is most often quite impressed with the effort that counsel is making. This tends to make for a very close working relationship between counsel and client, because the client sees that counsel is investing an enormous amount of resources into the case. In effect, the lawyer has become a true partner of the clients in the case.

Counsel gets the added benefit of putting the most talented attorneys on those aspects of the case that they are best suited to handle, without regard to what that will cost the client. This enables counsel to work a very complex case with great efficiency, skill and speed. In the end, both the client and the plaintiff's lawyers benefit from a tightly handled case that realizes a great result—and in less time than would be the case if counsel was constrained by concerns about the ability of the client to pay the legal bills every month.

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