My question relates to legal practice in the state of: California
I am at the beginning of a period during which I will interview lawyers regarding a unpaid wages & wrongful termination case. I have spoken to two attorneys thus far, both of whom indicated a 40% contingent fee. I was not thrilled with either of them because it was clear that neither had read the employment contracts (total 5 pages) that I had provided beforehand.
I feel that 40% is high, especially given that the relevant statutes allow the employee's attorney to recover fees from the employer if a suit is filed and the employee wins.
I would like to either negotiate the rate down or negotiate to have any fees awarded by a court deducted (at least in part) from my fee. However, I don't want to make myself seem like a cheapskate / pain in the ass / undesirable client. My questions for this post are:
1) In California, is it considered uncommon for potential client to negotiate the contingency fee? negotiate deduction of court-awarded fees from the client's fees?
2) Is negotiating a fee seen as a sign that a client will be undesirable to deal with?
I realize that the answer is "it depends" and that I can ask for anything and the attorney can say yes/no to anything, but I would like to understand typical practice in my area (San Francisco, California).