Out-of-pocket expenses are your responsibility. Attorneys are prohibited from paying for certain client expenses such as utility bills, rent or mortgage, and other non-case-related expenses. If you have absolutely no money, there are companies that offer loans to individuals who have cases pending in litigation, but we do not encourage our clients to take out these loans.
In the unusual event a claim results in no recovery whatsoever, it is still your responsibility to repay the money advanced by the firm that it advanced toward your claim. This is required under Rule 1.8 of the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct (all lawyers must follow these rules).