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Attorney fees


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Question

Is a 30% contingency fee excessive to take a claim to the CAVC.   I understand that EAJA may pay all or the major portion of the fee.  Even if the court affirms the previous Board decision the attorney gets EAJA fees. 

 

Is this correct?

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It has been a few years but I am thinking my agreement was around 20% but I did not have to pay that and I won. My claim was paid for by the EAJA (Equal Access to Justice Act). I think I did sign some paperwork for an agreement but ultimately, I didn't have to pay.

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So, if the EAJA fees do not cover the full 30% attorney fees, then the balance would be due to the attorney and paid by me from the award.   

 

Is this correct?

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Mine is at 20% through Berry Law Firm.  I would get some more offers.

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Let's go back, here.   I have been represented 3 times by 3 different lawyers at the CAVC and NONE charged me anything, they were all paid by EAJA fees.  Did you discuss with your attorney if you would be responsible for attorney fees above and beyond those paid by EAJA?  

I have not seen that happen.  Here is why.  

Attorney fees are strictly regulated and watched by the Court.  

After your decision is complete and you "win", your attorney should petititon the court for payment of attorney fees, and he would submit a bill to eaja at that time.  

Here is the deal on that.  Attorney fees are negotiable.  But the court insists they be "reasonable".  "Reasonable" generally means 20 percent of the retro, and anything over 20 percent has to be "justified" by the attorney.  For example, if your claim was especially long and complex, the attorney could ask for additional fees above and beyond the 20 percent, and may get it.  

Still, eaja would pay the fees, and the court will determine if they are reasonable.  

In summary:  

    My advice is to be very happy Mr. Carpenter has accepted your appeal and agreed to represent you, and not worry too much, he will get the fees paid by eaja, so that probably would not matter whether the attorney fees are 20 percent or 80 percent, because you dont pay anything.  However, if Mr. Carpenter tells you that YOU are responsible for the fees over and above eaja fees, then you may have to pay as much as 10 percent.  However, I doubt very much if the attorney would be allowed to only collect 20 percent from eaja and another 10 percent from you.  I have never heard of that senario.  Pretty much at the CAVC eaja pays the fees when you win.  But, discuss this with Mr. Carpenter.  He is, in my opinion, number 1 of all law firms for Veterans.  You have the best.  

    My best guess here is that Mr. Carpenter may well have expenses.  Sometimes its very expensive to copy documents, some hospitals charge like a dollar a page..and there can be thousands of pages.  So, he "covers" those expenses by having you sign a 30 percent fee agreement.  Likely, when the court decides the case, he will bill eaja for expenses and the 20 percent.  He may also ask them for more if your claim was especially complex.  He probably does not want his fees "limited" by the 20 percent.  

    My opinion here is that you have nothing to worry about.  Enjoy having the best work your claim.  

Edited by broncovet
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I'm at the 30% fee for a retro claim going back almost 30 years (80% and they are trying to increase it).  It is two law firms working together (CCK & Woods & Woods).  Nobody else was interested, so I feel fortunate.  You know the old saying, 70% of something is better than 100% of nothing. 

Now this eaja thing is not something I've not heard of.  I'm not sure it's something they would even entertain at this point.  Entertain me if you think it is.

In fact, I just emailed them about this.

Edited by El Train
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EAJA fees applies only to CAVC..and I have no idea what stage your appeal is in.  Im suprised that you have 2 law firms, but stranger things have happened.  

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