Should Your Jury Consultant Work on a Contingent Fee Basis?

Should Your Jury Consultant Work on a Contingent Fee Basis?

In a forthcoming article, Dr. Melissa Pigott examines the controversial topic concerning some jury consultants’ acceptance of fees based on the outcome of a lawsuit. Although contingent fee payments have a long history within the plaintiff’s bar, it is relatively new among jury and trial consultants. In Florida and in numerous other states, attorneys are expressly forbidden from sharing fees with nonattorneys, including, of course, jury consultants and expert witnesses. There has been a recent trend among certain attorney and their consultants which attempts to circumvent this prohibition by requiring the end client (most often the injured plaintiff in a lawsuit) to sign a contingent fee agreement with the consultant. Then, when the case is settled or a verdict achieved, the consultant is paid a percentage of the end clients’ recovery in a manner similar to the plaintiff’s attorney’s contingent fee payment. The ethical, scientific, and legal ramifications of this practice are far too numerous to delineate in this, electron postcard, however, suffice it to say that there are strong reason why jury and trial consultants should not work for contingent fees.