Q: If I win a unpaid wage case. Does the employer pay my agreed upon percentage to my Attorney? Leaving me with the award?
A: You should have been awarded your attorney fees, along with wages owed. You have to carefully read your retainer agreement with your attorney to see how the issue of an attorney fees award is handled.
If you brought your claim in the Labor Commissioner's office and not a court of law, there is no right to attorney fees. The award will be shared with your attorney in the percentages agreed upon in your attorney-client fee agreement if you were proceeding on a contingency fee basis.
If you brought your action in a court of law, your attorney should be seeking attorney fees in a post trial procedure, and the court will decide how much money the defendant must pay in fees and costs, and that amount will be added to the judgment.
Once the money is collected, how the fees will be distributed will depend on the terms of the attorney-client contract. Some agreements say that the attorney is entitled to a percentage of all monies received. Others say the attorney gets the fee award. Still others have a combination of those approaches. Read your fee agreement and talk to your attorney.
Just remember that getting an award or judgment does not necessarily mean the defendant will voluntarily pay the money. You may still be in for a great amount of work in collecting your award or judgment.
Good luck to you.
Maurice Mandel II agrees with this answer
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