Malpractice lawyers work on a contingency basis, recovering a portion of any settlement or award, typically one-third plus expenses. This means the lawyer must count on a settlement big enough to justify expenses and investment of time. Bill Faison of Faison & Gillespie said he spends a minimum of $100,000 on experts, depositions and costs to take a case to trial. This means a patient who suffered a loss of $100,000 or $150,000 would have a hard time getting a lawyer to take the case. Trial lawyers are much more likely to take cases of younger people with catastrophic injuries.