The Florida Bar has determined that if the case is settled before the suit is filed that the attorney can receive 33 1/3% of whatever recovery they were able to obtain up until the first million of any recovery. It should be noted that most cases settle for far less than a million dollars. For anything over 1 million but up until 2 million, the attorney can only receive 30% of any proceeds, if the case settled before suit is filed. Finally, the attorney can only recover up to 20% of any proceeds exceeding 2 million dollars.
However, if an attorney has to file suit on a case, the fee goes up from 33 1/3% to 40%. The increase is only 6 2/3%, so there is no real encouragement for an attorney to file suit on a case, as the amount of work that goes into filing suit and litigating a case is much more time consuming and costly than handling a file pre-suit. However, the fee for litigation files is 40% up to 1 million; between 1 million and 2 million it is 30% and everything over the 2nd million is 20% fee. It should be noted that in some special cases a 40% across the board fee can be approved by the Court. This is something that the Court must approve and extraordinary facts and circumstances need to exist in order to support such a fee. These facts and circumstances could come from the length or complexity of the case and certain types of cases generally lend themselves to a 40% across the board fee, such as medical malpractice, nursing home, or products liability cases. However, just because a lawyer has accepted one of these cases does not mean that they are entitled to a 40% across the board fee. As I stated earlier, it must be Court approved and you must have very good facts and circumstances to support such. Generally, this type of fee request will not be granted unless there are such extraordinary circumstances. The vast majority of cases (over 95%) have the traditional 40%/30%/20% breakdown as far as the attorneys’ fee percentage