by John Darer CLU ChFC MSSC CeFT RSP CLTC
The plaintiff's decision to take a structure settlement annuity generally has no impact on how the lawyer gets paid
If the retainer agreement with the lawyer or law firm states that the lawyer is entitled to 33 1/3% of your recovery, then the lawyers fee should be 33 1/3 of the recovery (as much as 40% in certain states). With respect to the structured settlement the fee should be the agreed percentage applied to the cost of the structure NOT the agreed percentage time the future value of periodic payments that you will receive from the structure.
$3,000,000 settlement after expenses
Structure with a cost of $1,000,000
Attorney fee is $1,000,000
Make sure you read your retainer agreement carefully. Attorneys are encouraged to review their retainer agreements to be sure it accurately reflects the how the attorney fee is calculated if a client elects to structure.
You and your attorney may agree to structure the attorney fees. A structured attorney fee offers significant financial planning opportunities to your attorney or law firm, similar to the opportunity that you now have when you are settling your case. An attorney or law firm that wishes to structure legal fees is indicative of the lawyer's or firm's belief in the opportunity that you have to structure your settlement.