Search Site
Menu
No Contingent Fee for Experts

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.

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

    I had a wonderful experience working with Robert Feinberg and Colleen Santoro. I never once had doubts about how my case would be handled. I knew I was in great hands with both of them. I was always informed and felt confident in their ability to re...

    Read more

    Betsy Rose

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    This firm is great! They negotiated a settlement for us after another firm told us we had no case. The whole process was quick and easy. Colleen was so easy to work with and very responsive.

    Read more

    Ellen Carita

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    Highly recommend this firm! Colleen Santora was my sister's attorney for her motor vehicle accident. Colleen was always responsive and answered all our questions. She was transparent and put 100 effort in the case. She very knowledgeable. I would re...

    Read more

    Warda Khurram

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    My wife with our dog crossed the street when was hit by a car. Our attorney Alexis Cahill was professional, knowledgeable and reliable. We had good communications with her all the time while my wife recovered from her injuries. We are completely sati...

    Read more

    michaelvideohere

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    I got chance make car accident (it's not my fault). Before I didn't have any accident like that one. I choose this agency accidentally due to it's location was convenient to my job. I was surprise (good surprise) that agency lawyer (Colleen Santora) ...

    Read more

    Anatoly Gorbatchev

See all reviews
Awards & Affiliations
Contact us

Quick Contact Form