Financing your case

There are times when you need some financial liquidity to make your case

The following service offered by our partners will help you get acquainted with the financing options available to you. Legal advice and services can be expensive, and can be a potential source of anxiety above and beyond the contentious legal issues at hand. This is among the most daunting barriers to seeking legal counsel and by far the main mechanism discouraging people from pursuing their constitutional rights. Like other mechanisms in the free market, this situation favors those who have the financial credit and backing, namely vendors, and organically fends off claims that may otherwise have functioned to protect consumer rights. Low income families and individuals are among the most vulnerable and, according to a recent JusticeGap report mapping the unmet civil legal needs of low-income Americans, only 1 in 5 will seek out legal advice.

Assessing the overall need for financing will depend on the type of case, and the remuneration framework (ie. Hourly vs. fixed/flat rate or retainer) and adhoc fees including filing fees, service fees, mediation fees, and eventually appeal fees if your case is sent to higher court for deliberation. Legal fees can be included as part of the settlement but this is less likely where outcomes are not decisive – where the court verdict is not black and white.

So what are the tools available?

Contingency is perhaps the most common solution and is set up in such a way that legal services are paid for by the settlement. The advantage is, of course, the offset of the legal fees but these settlements often see anywhere between 30 and 50% of the settlement disappear after adjournment of the case. This is also not applicable to numerous cases for reasons including risk, odds, scale of the case, etc.

Crowd funding is an alternative that has surfaced in recent years for class action cases that can be of benefit to the population at large. Here again, the nature of the case, and the ambition of the class action are pivotal for the financing to work. This financing option is time consuming and largely dependent on achieving the announced funding, in order to succeed. Most crowd funding platforms require disclosure and public divulgation of case-related matters.

Legal payment plans can be negotiated where possible. These are calculated based on services rendered and timetable for remuneration. They can be convenient when they can be negotiated.

Your financing toolbox will inevitably include the personal loan. The reason? It’s fast to obtain, and leaves you in full control. Loans keep legal services and financing separate so that you can negotiate both independently. The personal loan can provide the freedom necessary by generating fluidity with a monthly return over a predetermined timeframe. Do keep in mind that your relationship with the lender is independent of the outcome of your case in court. You are liable for the sum you loan whether or not your claim is successful.