The image most often associated with contingent fee cases is the late-night television commercial featuring a lawyer who proclaims to clients, “We don’t get paid unless you collect.” What the advertisements typically do not include is how much the lawyer keeps if he or she is successful.

Though contingent fee arrangements have been a source of great debate among the organized bar, the truth is that they are here to stay in one form or another. In the past they have been most often used in general plaintiff work, personal injury, medical malpractice, Social Security collection and other forms of civil tort litigation. In increasing measure, however, contingent fee arrangements of growing variety are finding their way into corporate America, both in transactional work and in litigation.