how do lawyer retainers work

by Dr. Colt Eichmann MD 4 min read

How does the retainer fee work?

  • General retainer. It is the type of retainer in which the customer contacts the lawyer to deal with the general issues and counseling.
  • Retaining fee. Retaining fee is the fee that the client deposits in a lawyer’s particular account as a trust. ...
  • Particular retainer. The word particular refers to the specialty of some projects and cases. ...
  • Conclusion. ...

Full Answer

What to expect when you hire an attorney on retainer?

Mar 23, 2016 · When you pay a lawyer a "retainer" essentially you're paying the attorney in advance so they have a funds to bill hourly against. California Bar Rules of Professional Conduct 4-100 requires that these funds are segregated from the attorney's personal accounts and set up in a trust account. As the attorney works on your case, they bill you and pay themselves with …

What is the average retainer fee for a lawyer?

Jul 18, 2021 · A retainer, in the legal world, is a sum of money that the person hiring the lawyer deposits into the lawyer’s trust account. The lawyer holds the money for the person in their trust account, and may only withdraw the funds “as fees are earned or expenses incurred.” (Rules of Professional Conduct 1.15(c)). Simply put, a lawyer cannot take money out of your retainer …

What does it mean to have a lawyer on retainer?

Oct 01, 2019 · A retainer is the client’s way of guaranteeing to the lawyer that the client is financially able to employ the lawyer’s services and is committed to funding the matter. The retainer still belongs to the client until it is earned by the attorney or used for legitimate expenses, and must be returned if unused.

Do attorneys refund retainers?

Jun 14, 2020 · The attorney should provide a retainer agreement detailing the retainer fee and how to proceed if the fee is depleted. If a lawyer charges $200 per hour and the parties estimate that the case will take a minimum of 30 hours, the client may be required to deposit a $6,000 retainer fee. The attorney will then invoice the client at the end of the month, and transfer the …


How much does it cost to have an attorney on retainer?

There is a wide range of retainer fees, from as low as $500 or as high as $5,000 or more, depending on the type of agreement you have and the work involved. Actually, the fee can be any amount that the attorney requests, and it is typically requested at the beginning of legal representation.

How does a retainer payment work?

A retainer fee is an advance payment that's made by a client to a professional, and it is considered a down payment on the future services rendered by that professional. Regardless of occupation, the retainer fee funds the initial expenses of the working relationship.

Is a retainer fee the same as a deposit?

In a definitive sense, a retainer is a fee that is paid in advance in order to hold services (ie. a wedding or event date). While a deposit may also reserve a date, it is returned when the services have been completed. A retainer is by default non-refundable and is not returned.Jun 6, 2019

How do you negotiate a retainer?

How to Win and Secure a Great Retainer AgreementTarget your Most Important Clients. ... Position Yourself as Invaluable. ... Consider Dropping your Rate. ... Don't Skip the Proposal Part. ... Shoot for a Retainer that's Time-Bound. ... Be Clear About the Work you Do Under the Retainer. ... Add the Details. ... Track Time.Jun 29, 2015

What is retainer in legal?

A retainer is paid in advance, for legal services that will be rendered. When you talk to an attorney about a retainer you may discuss one of three different types: General retainers are fees for a specific period of time, not a specific project.

What are the benefits of a retainer?

A retainer arrangement benefits both the client and the attorney. The attorney has the assurance of being paid monthly or at least on a regular basis. This is particularly helpful if a client is slow in paying.

How do attorneys set their fees?

Attorneys set their fees based on a number of factors, including the amount of work the attorney will need to do for your case and the complexity of the case. Some factors that determine the amount of the fees are: 1 The billing rates for each level of professional working for your business, based on each person's experience, specialty area, and their level (partner, associate, paralegal, for example) 2 Novelty and complexity of the issues 3 The difficulty of problems encountered 4 The extent of the responsibility involved 5 The result achieved, and 6 The efficiency of the work, and customary fees for similar legal services. 1 

What is contingency fee?

Contingency fees. In this case, the lawyer gets a percentage of what you receive if the case is decided in your favor. If you lose the case, your attorney gets nothing, but they may still charge for their costs. Contingency fee percentages are negotiable. Flat fee.

What is retaining fee?

A retaining fee is a deposit or lump-sum you pay in advance. The attorney must (by law) deposit that money in a trust account to draw from as work is done. If there is money left in the trust account at the end of the project, you get that back.

What are the rules of professional conduct?

State ethics rules and state bar associations have rules of professional conduct, including rules for disputes and for making sure attorneys charge reasonable fees. Check with your state's bar association for more information.

What happens if you don't pay your attorney?

What happens if you don't pay? The attorney might charge you a service fee or interest on the overdue balance or take out a lien on your documents or other property the attorney has. In other words, you won't get your stuff back until you pay the attorney's bill in full. The agreement with your attorney should spell out the attorney's right to charge you for non-payment.

What is a Retainer Agreement?

A retainer agreement is a work-for-hire legal document or a service contract between a company or an individual and a client. It falls between a one-off-contract and a permanent employment contract . It allows clients and customers to pay in advance for professional services of a company or individual.

Purpose of Retainer Agreements

The purpose of the retainer agreement is to set out the duties of the parties so that all parties have an agreement on the services that will be provided, how they will be provided, when and at what cost. Retainer agreements are typically used to hire lawyers and freelancers.

How Retainer Agreements Work

Retainer agreements do not work on a single formula. However, there is a basic structure followed in all retainer agreements. One party, like a contractor, agrees to provide certain number of hours each month to the client.

Who Needs a Retainer Agreement?

A retainer agreement is widely used in the legal field. It is common for people seeking legal services or anticipating needing legal services to pay a retainer fee to a lawyer who will be available when they need them. This retainer can be an advanced payment for a monthly recurring payment to the lawyer.

Types of Professional Services Retainer Agreements

There are two types of retainer agreements that a company or individual can use:

Meet some of our Retainer Agreement Lawyers

Tim has 20 years of experience representing a wide variety of emerging and established companies in the technology, software, bitcoin and professional services industries. He works directly with his clients’ executives and boards of directors on corporate, intellectual property, and securities law issues.