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The Lawyers Arrive

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As happens after every major disaster, lawyers are arriving in the cities and towns along the Gulf Coast to sign up plaintiffs.

This is an appropriate exercise, but potential litigants should be aware that they are in a position of considerable leverage over their contingency fee rate.

Nor is there any rush to pick counsel. The government was right to warn injured parties against premature acceptance of settlement offers but injured parties should also proceed very carefully in agreeing to representation from the lawyers flooding the zone.

UPDATE: I asked my colleague Joseph Timothy Cook to join me on today’s show to discuss how to hire a lawyer when you are the injured party in a disaster case. Cook has been representing victims in such cases for 30 years, and the transcript of his recommendations is here. If you have additional questions, email him not me:

The one thing I am sure he will say on the basis of my past conversations with him on this topic is that no one should be paying a contingency fee of more than 20% in a situation such as this.

UPDATE 2: The damages from the spill are already estimated at $5.5 billion.




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