Defenders of our current litigation finance system sometimes claim that once one adjusts for the risk of nonpayment, contingency fee attorneys earn fees comparable to those of their defense counterparts. In this empirical investigation, Prof. Brickman concludes to the contrary that the effective rates of the top quartile of contingency fee lawyers amount to several thousand dollars an hour. He also concludes that effective hourly rates have increased an inflation-adjusted 1400% over the past 40 years.
Lester Brickman, 81 Wash. U. Law Q. 653 (2003)