Does Negotiating a Fee Award along with Substantive Relief Create a Conflict of Interest?


An interesting article was published in California Lawyer, January 2011 issue, regarding attorneys' fees, and in particular, negotiating the amount of those fees during settlement discussions. Negotiating Attorneys Fees, Id. at 12, "Expert Advice," by Adam W. Hofmann, from the San Francisco office of Hanson Bridgett. The author recognizes that attorneys representing plaintiffs in civil rights and public interest cases usually bifurcate the settlement negotiations, with an attempt to reach agreement on the substantive issues first. The right to attorneys' fees, and the amounts thereof, are typically delayed until after the substantive issues have been resolved. Plaintiffs lawyers usually claim that bifurcation is necessary to avoid an ethical conflict between the client's claim and the lawyer's interest in getting paid.

The author argues, however, that such strategy may, in some cases, be a tactical mistake. The tactic of negotiating the fees simultaneously with the substantive claims may arguably avoid the inherent conflict that usually arises.

Please see full article below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:


Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.

Already signed up? Log in here

*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.