Some attorneys are charging 40% of your claim in order to represent you. You should read any fee agreement with your attorney before you sign it. If an attorney is trying to charge you 40%, you should take a look at what my firm can do for you. You should ask any potential attorney what their fee structure is up front. Your claim is for money that you earned. You shouldn't need to pay a large portion of it for an attorney, especially if the case does not go to litigation.
The biggest mistake people make with overtime claims is thinking that they can not afford an attorney. For wage and hour cases, such as unpaid overtime, missed meals, etc, my office generally works on a contingency basis. That is, if there is no recovery, there is no fee. Once we recover, the fees that we charge are extremely reasonable and a fraction of what other attorneys charge. I am so confident that you will agree that I am posting my fee structure here on the web.
Please keep in mind that, as with any attorney, you are not required to use a contingency fee agreement. You can retain an attorney at my firm on an hourly basis. In some cases a contingency agreement does not make sense and will not be used.
California law requires that any advertised fees be honored during the period they are posted for. As such, these fees will be applicable for January 1, 2017 - December 31, 2017. This fee structure is only for wage and hour cases that are not class actions. Wrongful termination, discrimination, and other employment cases are done on a different fee agreement. Any percentages in any fee agreements are not fixed by law and are negotiable by the attorney. This web page only provides a brief overview of how the fees are structured. The actual fee agreement contains all the details of how the calculations are performed.
The percentage charged will depend on when the case is resolved.
If the case is settled before a lawsuit is filed, the fee is 25%. A good number of cases settle before a lawsuit is filed. This is because the employer does not want to get stuck paying the attorney fees if you win in court. However, each case is different and your case may take longer to settle.
After filing of the lawsuit, the percentage is 33%.
Additional fees will apply if you wish to receive voluminous documents relating to your case.
If attorney fees are awarded by the court, my firm gets the greater of either the contingency percentage, or the amount of attorney fees awarded by the court. For most cases that have attorneys fees awarded, I will get the attorney fees awarded by the court and you will get to keep the entire amount of the claim. Thus, if you win $50,000 in overtime and the court awards $20,000 in attorney fees, I would get the $20,000 and you would keep the entire $50,000. This is why it really is in your benefit to use an attorney rather than trying to do it yourself through the DLSE.
Please note that direct costs of the litigation are paid first before any percentage is calculated. All the details of how the calculations are performed are contained in the written fee agreement. Both you and the attorney will review this document before you sign it.
Please contact me if you are interested in going forward with your case.
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|April 2013: California's executive exemption defined.|
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|VIDEO LINK: Michael Tracy discusses Liquidated Damages for Overtime (QuickTime 6MB)|