Many lawyers claim not charging a dime if you don’t win, but few are worth their salt. Understanding the distinction between “no win no fee,” and pro bono legal work is crucial. The latter is to help those who cannot afford legal services and/or for the community’s greater good. The former, however, is a contingent arrangement regardless of the financial status of the client.
Here, we try to understand the differences between both types of arrangements. The article also discusses which one is best for your legal matters. There is more here, and you can contact some of the best no win no fee lawyers.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, pro bono work is when lawyers provide legal advice and represent clients free of cost or at a substantially low fee. This comes into effect mostly when the clients belong to marginalized groups and cannot afford the standard market rates. Pro bono work is also carried out by attorneys who want to contribute toward the community’s greater good. The definition specifically states that it excludes any contingency fee arrangements.
“No win no fee” cases are when your lawyer makes a contingency arrangement with you. Only when you win the case will they take a cut of the settlement as their fees. The usual rate of the contingency fee is about one-third of the compensation won.
Type of Cases
When it comes to pro bono work, lawyers can represent a client in any type of case, i.e., criminal, family law, personal injury, commercial disputes, defamation, and other types of cases. Therefore, anyone who cannot afford a lawyer can opt for pro bono attorneys for assistance.
The contingency fee arrangement does not apply to criminal cases and family law. It usually applies to general personal injury cases such as defamation, workers’ compensation matters, etc. You can know more here about how contingency fee arrangements work.
In pro bono work, attorneys accept cases based on the facts and their instinct about the client. They are focused on their client’s benefit. Usually, pro bono work involves court-assigned cases, and lawyers have limited say on which case they want to pick.
On the other hand, attorneys are picky when it comes to no win no fee cases. They will only pick those cases that have a perfect chance of winning. They will study the facts of the case, the evidence, and eyewitness testimony before deciding if there is a strong case in the favour of the plaintiff.
With pro bono work, the fee is either zero or a minimal amount paid as per the arrangements discussed with the client. In no win no fee cases, nothing is paid upfront. When you win the case and receive the settlement, you pay the lawyer the set percentage in fees.
People usually associate lawyers with high fees and out of pocket expenses. The ground reality is different, though. Some lawyers work pro bono and on a contingent basis too. It means that you either don’t pay anything or pay only when you win. Depending on your case, you may, however, not always qualify for a contingent fee. Know more here about what entails toward a no win no fee arrangement.