Do I Need an Attorney for My Roundup Lawsuit?

The details on Roundup lawsuits, finding the right lawyer, and the fine print of the attorney-client contract in a Roundup case.

Updated by , J.D. · University of San Francisco School of Law

If you're thinking about filing a Roundup (glyphosate) lawsuit after diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma or some other health problem linked to use of the popular weed killer, having an attorney on your side is crucial:

  • Thousands of lawsuits over Roundup-related illness have already been filed, and it's possible to get compensation, but these cases can be complex on a number of fronts.
  • Bayer (manufacturer of Roundup) is a huge multinational corporation with limitless resources to fight these claims, so proceeding without a lawyer isn't a sound strategy.
  • A Roundup lawyer gets paid under some version of a "contingency fee" agreement, meaning the attorney's collection of a fee is dependent upon a favorable outcome to your case.
  • You can connect with a Roundup lawyer in your area now, using the tools on this page.

Roundup Lawsuits

A potential link between use of glyphosate-based weed killing products like Roundup and cancer (including non-Hodgkin's lymphoma) has prompted the filing of thousands of lawsuits. Bayer, the huge pharmaceutical company, purchased Roundup manufacturer Monsanto in 2018, and also took on legal liability for Roundup-related illness.

Most Roundup lawsuits have been consolidated into "multidistrict litigation" (MDL), and a global settlement of current and future Roundup claims may emerge soon. An attorney can determine the best strategy for your potential Roundup case, when it comes to both the existing MDL and the impact of any future settlement.

For more details on the legal basis for suits over Roundup-related illness, and the latest news and developments in these kinds of cases, check out Roundup Lawsuits: History and Settlement Updates.

Should You File a Roundup Lawsuit?

If you've got a history of use of (or exposure to) Roundup, and you've been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma or some other health problem that could be linked to glyphosate, then it's certainly worth it to discuss your situation with a Roundup lawyer.

A successful lawsuit against Bayer can mean financial recovery for the full spectrum of your harm ("damages" in the language of the law), including:

  • cost of necessary past and future medical care to treat your Roundup-related illness
  • income you've lost because of time missed at your job, and inability to continue working, and
  • your physical and mental "pain and suffering" resulting from your health problems, your treatment, and the impact of your illness on your life.

You can always learn more about how much a Roundup lawsuit might be worth. But the right strategy for getting the best result varies from case to case. It starts with reaching out to a skilled Roundup attorney and discussing the specifics of your situation.

How to Seek Compensation for Roundup-Related Illness

As we touched on above, if you've used Roundup and have been diagnosed with a health problem that might be tied to your exposure to glyphosate, you certainly qualify for filing a lawsuit against Bayer. But keep in mind that simply having used Roundup in the past (even extensively) isn't a valid basis for suing Bayer (or anyone else). Cases like these require actual, provable harm that can be linked to use of the product. Learn more about why diagnosis is crucial in a Roundup case.

One key hurdle to filing this kind of case comes from the statute of limitations, which is a law that sets a deadline on your right to file a lawsuit. Especially if your symptoms didn't show up right away, it's important to understand how these deadlines work.

Filing a Roundup lawsuit against Bayer means spelling out details like the specifics of your Roundup-related health problems and the nature and extent of your exposure to glyphosate, and complying with applicable procedure to get the initial document (the "complaint") filed with the court and "served" on Bayer. Adding your Roundup claim to the existing MDL means jumping through additional procedural hoops. But that's only the beginning. A lawyer can explain the process, and will be the one getting the lawsuit wheels in motion.

Do You Need a Lawyer to File a Roundup Lawsuit?

In a word, yes. Filing a Roundup lawsuit against Bayer isn't like going to small claims court over a dispute with your neighbor. There's a lot more at stake, there's much more to prove, and defendants don't get much bigger than Bayer. Having a lawyer on your side is critical.

It's not just about the lawyer, or even the law firm. A successful Roundup lawsuit means showing that your diagnosed illness is linked to your use of Roundup and/or your exposure to glyphosate. That kind of proof requires expert medical witnesses. And if your illness has affected your ability to make a living, you'll need additional experts to establish the precise financial impact that will have. Your Roundup lawyer will be able to assemble the right team of experts and advisers to put your best case together.

Starting Your Search to Find the Best Roundup Attorney For Your Case

Online resources are a great way to put together an initial list of candidates you might want to get in touch with when you're looking for an attorney to handle your Roundup case. You can start your search right here at Remember, you're not just looking for someone who has experience handling lawsuits like yours; you're also looking for someone you can trust and who you feel comfortable with. Learn more about how to find the right lawyer for a personal injury case.

What to Ask Candidate Lawyers

Whether you talk to a lawyer in person, over the phone, or via online chat, here are some topics you might want to touch on.

  • How long has the lawyer been in practice?
  • Roughly what percentage of the lawyer's practice involves personal injury cases? Toxic tort cases? Roundup lawsuits? Your best fit might be a lawyer who specializes in toxic tort or product liability.
  • Does the lawyer most often represent plaintiffs or defendants? Plaintiffs' lawyers in cases involving Roundup and similar products represent people who have been injured or developed a health problem (like non-Hodgkin's lymphoma) in connection with the use of an unsafe product. You probably don't want to be represented by someone who has experience with personal injury cases but who has primarily been a lawyer for defendants. Advocating for plaintiffs who have been hurt is much different from helping a client avoid liability at all costs.
  • Would the lawyer personally handle your case or pass it along to another—perhaps less experienced—lawyer in the office? It's normal for more than one attorney in an office to work on the same case, and to have less experienced attorneys (or paralegals and others) handle routine tasks. Find out who would have primary responsibility for your case and who you would be dealing with directly.

Remember to consider any special needs you might have, and a few important practicalities. For example, could you benefit from an attorney who speaks a language other than English? Is the lawyer's office close to public transportation, if that's how you travel? Unless there are special circumstances, you'll want to hire a lawyer with a local office, so make sure the firm is relatively close by. Check out more questions to ask a potential personal injury attorney.

How Are Roundup Attorneys Paid?

A Roundup lawyer will almost always represent you under a "contingency fee" agreement, which means any legal fees owed to the lawyer will be paid out of any settlement or court judgment you receive. In short, if you don't receive any money from Bayer, your lawyer doesn't receive payment for his or her legal services. But it's important to make sure you understand the fine print of your contract with your lawyer.

Understanding Contingency Fees

As touched on above, under a contingency fee agreement, your attorney takes a percentage of any settlement or court judgment you receive, and usually pays for all costs as the case proceeds. If your Roundup case does not reach a settlement, and there is no court judgment in your favor, you typically do not owe the attorney anything.

A contingency fee is usually 33 percent. Some attorneys will handle a Roundup case on a "sliding scale," which works much the same way as a standard contingency fee arrangement, except the percentage goes up as the litigation progresses. For example, if the case settles before the lawyer has to file a lawsuit in civil court, the fee percentage might be 25%. If the plaintiff (the client) wins after a lawsuit is filed and the case goes all the way through trial, the attorney's fee might be 40%. (Learn more about personal injury attorney fees.)

Some attorneys may have a policy of raising their contingency fee percentage once a Roundup (glyphosate) case is assigned a trial date, because at that point the matter begins to demand more time. If an appeal is necessary, the attorney's fee might go up as part of the contract, or the attorney might want to draw up a new contract—that is, if you decide to use the same attorney for the appeal.

(See a timeline of a typical Roundup (glyphosate) case.)

"Costs" in a Roundup (Glyphosate) Case

Costs and fees are two different things in a Roundup lawsuit. Costs are the expenses that the attorney or firm pays in order to move the case along toward settlement or judgment. Costs typically include:

  • filing fees (for the initial complaint, subsequent motions, and such)
  • the cost of serving documents on defendants
  • charges for obtaining medical records
  • deposition transcript fees, and
  • payment to medical experts (these fees can easily amount to thousands of dollars in Roundup cases, which almost always involve a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma or some other serious health problem).

Most plaintiffs' attorneys will try to keep costs down and not spend any money unnecessarily. If unable to settle, the attorney will usually be responsible for the costs. But it's important to make sure that ultimate financial responsibility for costs is spelled out in your fee agreement with your lawyer.

Different from costs, an attorney's fees are paid to compensate the attorney for his or her time, as well as the time of any support staff. Included in this fee is compensation for researching and drafting the complaint and motions, appearing in court, calling witnesses, reviewing documents, taking and defending depositions, and preparing for and putting on a trial.

Learn more about managing lawyer costs and expenses in a personal injury case.

Calculation of Costs in a Roundup Case

An important point to consider when it comes to costs: If you win your case, you will usually be on the financial hook for costs. But whether your attorney takes his or her contingency fee percentage before or after these costs are paid can make a significant difference in how much you ultimately receive.

For example, let's say your Roundup lawsuit goes to trial, and the jury awards you $200,000. Your litigation costs are $25,000, and your attorney's contingency fee percentage is 33%. If your litigation costs are paid before your attorney takes his or her contingency fee percentage, the attorney gets $57,750 (33% of $175,000) and you get $117,250 ($175,000 minus $57,750).

But if you pay for litigation costs after your attorney takes the contingency fee percentage, your attorney gets $66,000 (33% of $200,000) and you get $109,000 ($134,000 minus $25,000). The timing here results in an $8,250 difference in your settlement.

Again, these kinds of financial details—and whether you could be on the hook for any expenses if you don't end up with a settlement or judgment—should be clearly stated in the agreement you sign.

Switching Roundup Attorneys

Let's say that sometime after you hire Attorney A, you decide to end the attorney-client relationship (for whatever reason) and take your Roundup case to Attorney B at a different firm. Attorney A probably has a "lien" on any costs advanced toward your case, and on any proportional fees for representation, which will likely come out of any settlement or judgment Attorney B obtains on your behalf. The attorneys will sort this issue out between themselves, but it's something to keep in mind, and to discuss with a new attorney if you change representation.

Connect With a Roundup Lawyer Now

If you're thinking about filing a lawsuit over health problems that might be linked to your use of Roundup, having the right lawyer on your side is key to getting the best outcome. You can use the tools on this page to connect with a Roundup lawyer in your area. Answer three initial questions about your potential claim, and you'll be on your way to a free case evaluation.

Talk to a Lawyer

Need a lawyer? Start here.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
Get Professional Help

Talk to an attorney.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you