Are Attorney Fees Recoverable?
- The general rule in the United States is that each party is responsible for his own attorneys fees. However, the rule has been eroded considerably by contracts and statutes.
- Parties to a contract can specify within the contract how to handle disputes. Such provisions may include an agreement about attorney's fees, either that each party is responsible for her own fees or the losing party is responsible for her opposition's attorney's fees.
- Federal and state legislatures have included attorney's fee provisions in various statutes. Attorney fee provisions are usually for statutory violations of great public concern. For example, civil rights statutes, such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, allow parents to recover fees from schools because parents may never challenge a school due to the financial burden of hiring a lawyer.