Contingency Fees in Class Action Lawsuits

Houston Lawyers Chapter
Start : Thursday, June 21, 2007 07:00 PM
End : Thursday, June 21, 2007 08:00 PM

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Baker Botts L.L.P.
One Shell Plaza, 32nd Floor
910 Louisiana
Houston, TX


  • John Beisner, O'Melveny & Myers
  • Ted Frank, American Enterprise Institute
  • Charles Stuckey, State Farm

Contingency fees have traditionally been used to reflect additional risk assumed by the plaintiff attorney, and any problems with a contract of adhesion have been offset by an individual client's ability to choose other representation. But do these considerations hold up in the class action regime - are the risks assumed by plaintiff's lawyers commensurate with the fees they might earn? Is the market preserved through individual class member's opt-out rights? Further, ethical rules mandate that a lawyer's fees must not be "unreasonable." In some instances, the recovery by class counsel has been argued to be excessive or otherwise disproportionate to the value provided to the plaintiffs. Does an attorney taking an interest in the magnitude of the outcome, its distribution, or both, result in or contribute to a conflict in the interests of class members and class counsel? How is the reasonableness of the fee of plaintiffs' class counsel to be determined? When a class action is settled, what standards should govern the determination of class counsel's fee and what review of the fee claim is appropriate? Have fee awards increased or decreased over time? These and other related issues will be explored by our panel.

Registration details:

Seating is limited. Light refreshments will be served.

Parking will be available underneath One Shell Plaza.

1 Hour CLE Credit - Approval Pending
Ethics credit to be requested