How Much Does an Employment Attorney Cost

How much an employment attorney costs depends on the firm or solo practitioner that is hired to pursue damages and the strength of the employment law case. When faced with an employment discrimination lawsuit, most employers hold a serious advantage over their workers. They may have a well-paid defense team strategizing about how to avoid paying you money after committing a wrong arising out of prejudice. If you've been the victim of employment discrimination, you may be concerned about how much law firms charge. Many law firms charge clients for an initial retainer. This can amount to thousands of dollars. The seasoned New York City employment discrimination lawyers of Phillips & Associates provide free consultations to prospective clients.

Employment discrimination litigation in the city is expensive. Even before we file suit on behalf of our clients, we look closely at their cases to determine whether they have merit and whether the expense of litigation would be justified by the benefit. Filing a discrimination or harassment complaint requires payment of expenses including:

  • Costs related to discovery
  • Costs of deposition
  • Expert fees
  • Mediator fees.

Litigation may run one or more years. Retaining a firm that charges on an hourly basis can result in substantial bills running into the thousands. Therefore, it is wise to retain a firm that can go the distance and is motivated to win.

Contingency Fee Structure

At Phillips and Associates, it would trouble our conscience to ask you to pay us when you've just lost your job or suffered other economic or emotional harm in the workplace. We provide free consultations to workers who are thinking about suing their employers for discrimination or harassment. If we represent you in this type of case, we will work on a contingency fee basis. When a law firm takes a case on a contingency fee basis, they do not charge a retainer or fees through the course of litigation. Our firm will not charge you our fees unless we secure damages in the form of a settlement or verdict in your case.

Employment Discrimination and Harassment

It is important to hire an experienced lawyer to represent you in an employment discrimination or harassment lawsuit. The laws that govern disputes based on protected characteristics and personal history provide for different relief even when the language of the laws seems similar to you as a layperson. There are many nuances that distinguish federal, state, and local laws from each other.

Federal Law

Federal antidiscrimination laws tend not to provide as much protection to workers as state and local laws in New York City. Many are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Under these laws, damages are capped based on the size of the company that employs the worker who has been wronged. That means even if you lost significant pay and suffered extreme emotional distress due to your employer's conduct, you may not be able to recover all of your losses because your employer is a small company and your damages exceed its size for purposes of EEOC-enforced laws.

Depending on your situation, it may be appropriate for us to pursue damages under:

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)

We will need to abide by strict rules related to filing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is a prerequisite to filing suit in federal court.

State and City Law

Both the New York State Human Rights Law and the New York City Human Rights Law provide broad protection for workers based on many different protected characteristics. The state law was amended to be a little more in line with the protections provided under city law. It applies to employers that have only one employee. Although they provide substantial relief to employees who successfully establish liability for discrimination, you should be aware that it is very difficult to go up against a business and its defense team.

Our firm looks out for those who have been disadvantaged unfairly in the workplace because of who they are, their past history, or where they come from. We take care to keep up with developments in employment laws as they are interpreted in court so that we can determine what strategies in which laws might afford the greatest relief to our clients. We understand you may be worried about how much an employment attorney costs.


If we can establish liability in your case, we may be able to recover damages on your behalf. Depending on the situation, damages may include:

  • Back pay
  • Front pay
  • Out-of-pocket costs
  • Emotional distress
  • Compensatory damages
  • Punitive damages
  • Attorneys’ Fees.

Changes to the New York State Human Rights Law allow for punitive damages to the prevailing party. If your employer wins, it needs to show the court the claim was frivolous in order to pursue these types of damages against you. An advantage of retaining a New York City lawyer who works on a contingency fee basis is that you can be assured that we will not pursue your discrimination case if we believe your claims lack merit or could be fairly construed as frivolous. We won’t use unreasonable tactics to protract litigation or waste your time.

If we settle the case on your behalf, we would try to negotiate to have our fees built into the settlement amount.

Hire a Tough, Aggressive Employment Law Firm

If you were treated poorly by an employer due to a protected characteristic such as race or sex, you may be concerned about how much an employment attorney costs. You should talk to the New York City firm of Phillips & Associates about what happened to you. We represent many different kinds of workers in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County, or Nassau County. Call us at (866) 229-9441 or complete our online form.

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