Colorado Attorney Fees Initiative (2008)
|Not on Ballot|
| This measure did not or |
will not appear on a ballot
The Attorney Fees Initiative sought to impose caps on attorney fees and require attorneys to provide certain information to their clients regarding hours worked on a case. Specifically, it would have limited contingency fees for awards from courts to between 10% and 30%, depending on the award, but would cap any fee at an amount equal to $500 per hour worked on the case.
Proponents agreed to withdraw this measure on May 6, 2008, in exchange for the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association's agreement to withdraw the nine initiatives it filed in response.
This measure was a citizen-initiated state statute.
Details of the initiative
The initiative would have:
- Require an attorney who is retained on a contingent fee basis to disclose certain information regarding the number of hours worked on the case;
- Allow a client to sue his attorney if the attorney fails to disclose the specified information
- Limit the amount of attorney fees an attorney may receive on a contingent fee basis to:
- 30% for the first $250,000 recovered for a client
- 25% for awards between $250,000 and $500,000
- 10% for awards of more than $500,000
- In no case could the attorneys' share exceed the equivalent of $500 per hour worked on the case.
- Prohibit the general assembly from amending this measure for ten years, except by a two-thirds vote.
Mark Hillman was the proponent for the initiative. Hillman, a wheat farmer and a former Republican legislator and interim state treasurer, has been a longtime proponent of tort reform.
Hillman argues that contingency fees of 30% more than fairly compensates lawyers. He said his proposal is backed by a coalition of business interests and grass roots activists.
With Democrats in charge of both state chambers and the governor's office, Hillman said that the most effective way to bring the proposal into action is through the ballot-initiative process, since trial lawyers mostly back Democratic candidates.
John Sadwith, executive director of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, said attorneys will proceed with their own ballot initiatives if this initiative goes forward. Sadwith said the local business community "certainly wouldn't like anything we file," but gave no specifics. 
Proponents agreed to withdraw this measure on May 6, 2008, in exchange for the Colorado Trial lawyers Association's agreement to withdraw the nine initiatives it filed in response.
- Procedures for qualifying an initiative in Colorado
- Laws governing the initiative process in Colorado
- Campaign finance requirements for Colorado ballot measures
- Colorado 2008 ballot measures
- Petition drive deadlines in 2008
- Colorado signature requirements