Hybrid fee agreements between lawyers and plaintiffs

Lawyer-client fee arrangements that incorporate aspects of both the hourly rate model and the contingency fee model are sometimes called “hybrid” fee agreements. Hybrid fee agreements typically involve the lawyer being paid a guaranteed (but perhaps low) hourly fee and then being paid a bonus if there is good recovery on the client’s claim.


Many different types of hybrid fee agreements are possible and the terms of each agreement may be negotiated by the lawyer and the client to suit the particular case. Key elements subject to negotiation include:

  1. The base hourly rate, and in particular how far below the lawyer’s normal hourly rate the base hourly rate will be.
  2. The maximum compensation, which may be limited to:
  • a certain percentage of the amount recovered;
  • a specified maximum hourly rate; or
  • the lesser of:
    • a certain percentage of the amount recovered; and
    • a specified hourly rate.


The pages listed below provide further information about hybrid fee agreements. As for contingency fee agreements, since only plaintiffs, and not defendants, expect to recover compensation at the end of the case, only plaintiffs can pay their lawyers using a hybrid model; defendants generally have to pay by their lawyers by the hour.


Navigate this portion of the website by clicking on a menu item in the expanding menu on the left side of this page, or select a link from the list below.



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