The way a contingency fee basis works is that you and your attorney will decide on a percentage amount of the reward that the attorney will get upon a successful lawsuit or settlement. This percentage is often in the neighborhood of 30-40%, but can vary depending upon your state and the laws governing these arrangements where you live. Keep in mind that this percentage does not cover the costs incurred by an attorney, such as filing and court fees. If your case does go to trial, however, and you are successful in your lawsuit, judges often award the costs of the lawsuit in addition to the judgment amount for your injury.
There are a number of organizations that have legal teams dedicated to providing free legal services on social justice issues, including organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.