WHAT EVERY ESTATE AND TRUST ATTORNEY NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT CONTINGENT FEE REPRESENTATION
By Noël M. Lawrence*
Times are tough. According to the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the U.S. continued to decline throughout the spring of 2009, another 267,000 jobs were lost in July, and as of the end of that month, employment stood at 9.4 percent nationwide. The situation is significantly worse in the Golden State. As of the end of July 2009, the Employment Development Department of the State of California reported that well over two million Californians are jobless and that the unemployment rate statewide had reached 11.9 percent. California’s current rate of unemployment exceeds that of all other states with only four exceptions: Michigan (15 percent), Nevada (12.5 percent), Rhode Island (12.7 percent) and Oregon (tied with California at 11.9 percent).
And, as most California lawyers are well aware, the economic crisis is being felt severely within the legal community. The Los Angeles Times cites "lackluster spending" in certain areas, including "legal services," which has "left California’s economy listless, just about guaranteeing that the state’s … unemployment [rate] will march upward at least until the end of the year…."1