Search Site
Menu

No Contingent Fee for Experts

It is a well-established practice that a lawyer cannot employ an expert witness on a contingency fee. It is common for personal injury lawyers to use a contingency fee agreement, whereby they are only paid if the plaintiff receives a settlement or award, but this practice is strictly forbidden for experts. Rule 3.4 of the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct states that a lawyer shall not “pay, offer to pay, or acquiesce in the payment of compensation to a witness contingent upon the content of his or her testimony or the outcome of the case.” Supreme Judicial Court Rule 3:07,3.4. Also, many licensing boards, such as boards of medicine, ban their members from testifying on contingency fees. Violators may face disciplinary action from their governing boards.

This rule has been in existence for as long as I have been aware, previously contained in Massachusetts DR 7-109(C).As the comment to the present rule states, “Compensation of a witness may not be based on the content of the witness’s testimony or the result of the proceeding.” Its purpose is to ensure that the opinions are rendered without consideration of the financial implications. It would truly create a conflict of interest if the rule were otherwise. This is not to say that experts are unbiased. However, cross-examination should accomplish the task of exposing a biased opinion, including one motivated by financial gain, even where the financial gain is not contingent upon the outcome.

As the comment to Rule 3.4 adds, “A lawyer may pay a reasonable fee for the professional services of an expert witness.” My office does that. Bear in mind, however, the contingent fee agreement, as published in Rule 3:07, Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct, promulgated by the Supreme Judicial Court, makes clear that the ultimate responsibility for those expenses is the client’s.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Feinberg & Alban, P.C. fervently protects your rights
  • The Boston firm of Feinberg & Alban, P.C. specializes its practice in the area of personal injury.

    The attorneys serve the entire state of Massachusetts in addition to affiliating with lawyers in other states to handle cases outside of Massachusetts.

  • $7.7 Million Award for Feinberg & Alban Client in Personal Injury Trial

    Boston Attorneys Win Highest Injury Verdict in Massachusetts in 2011 & 2012.

Client Reviews
  • google
    5.0/5.0

    Robert Feinberg did a fantastic job handling our case. He is a thoughtful, caring man, cordial and a complete professional. The settlement we received was more than we had ever anticipated, his legal work is beyond reproach. Thank you Robert!!

    Read more

    Robert Bard

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    After my motorcycle accident I contacted Feinberg & Alban. I met with Marsha for a consultation and she was great. Their entire team kept me in the loop for the entire process. Colleen was also a part of my case, she help me with understanding a lot ...

    Read more

    Beantownie 617

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    I will be forever grateful to Robert and his team at Feinberg & Alban, P.C. He is the best of the best and I truly cannot recommend his expertise enough. Having Robert represent me brought me great comfort. I never once doubted that he would not be s...

    Read more

    Mitchell Petitti

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    I will be forever grateful to Robert and his team at Feinberg & Alban, P.C. He is the best of the best and I truly cannot recommend his expertise enough. Having Robert represent me brought me great comfort. I never once doubted that he would not be s...

    Read more

    Client

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    Robert and his team were unbelievably caring and thorough in working on my interests. It was a very serious case. It needed much attention and skill. Robert and his team were always there for me from the time I was in the hospital. They got me an ama...

    Read more

    Jason Lebovitz

See all reviews
Awards & Affiliations
Contact us

Quick Contact Form