Contingent Fee Litigation in New York City
Since 1957, New York courts have required contingent fee lawyers to file “closing statements” that disclose settlement amounts, lawyers’ fees, an accounting of expenses, and other information. This Article provides a preliminary analysis of these data for the period 2004–2013. Among this Article’s findings are that settlement rates in New York state courts are very high (84%) relative to previous studies; that very few cases are resolved by dispositive motions; that litigated cases and settled cases have almost exactly the same average recovery; that median litigation expenses, other than attorney’s fees, are 3% of gross recovery; that claims are disproportionately from poor neighborhoods; and that attorneys’ fees are almost always one-third of net recovery, which is the maximum allowed by law.
William F. Podlich Professor of Economics, Claremont McKenna College, and Senior Economist, RAND
Charles L. and Ramona I. Hilliard Professor of Law and History
J.D. student, USC Law School
Associate, Knobbe Martens