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February 7, 1972

Contingent Fees and Malpractice

Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1972;219(6):756. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03190320056026

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To the Editor.—  I read, with much interest, Van Zante's LETTER with regard to contingent legal fees. The contingent fee system is certainly less than perfect. I feel sure that all attorneys would prefer to be paid on the basis of time spent and not on result accomplished. However, the contingent fee opens the courts to all who have been wronged, regardless of their ability to pay, and is far superior to the system which was suggested by Van Zante in his LETTER. The system he suggests closely follows the procedure in England where contingent fees are illegal.The contingent fee system does deter baseless claims. I can think of no better way to prevent the institution of a meritless claim than to tell the lawyer that he will not be paid for his time and effort and may well be obligated to pay for the preparation of the case