how much is a lawyer retainer fee

by Kris Hodkiewicz 6 min read

A lawyer retainer ranges depending on the lawyer, the business, and the nature of the work. Fees may be as low as $500 but can also go as high as $5,000 or more. Some lawyers base their retainer fee on the number of hours they feel they need to finish working on your case.

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.

Full Answer

How much should the Attorney ask as retainer?

However, for long, drawn out cases spanning multiple years, an attorney retainer fee of $6,000 is not unheard of: a lawyer once represented a client in a complicated case that required 30 court visits over a span of four years. With an hourly rate of …

Is it worth having a lawyer on retainer?

Jun 14, 2020 · If in the first month, the lawyer spends four hours on the case, he will charge $400 against the $1,000 retainer fee, leaving a balance of $600. If the attorney completes the case in the second month after spending another three hours, he will charge $300 against the remaining fee, leaving a balance of $300.

How to pay for the retainer fee for my attorney?

For example, if you hire an attorney and ask him to represent you in a legal matter, such as breach of contract, he may ask for a retainer fee of $4,000 to handle the issue for you.

What to expect when you hire an attorney on retainer?

Oct 02, 2019 · A lawyer retainer ranges depending on the lawyer, the business, and the nature of the work. Fees may be as low as $500 but can also go as high as $5,000 or more. Some lawyers base their retainer fee on the number of hours they feel they need to finish working on your case.


What Are The Benefits of retainers?

A client may choose to pay using a retainer fee in order to demonstrate that they are serious about their case and wish to retain the lawyer’s serv...

Are There Other Types of Fees?

While retainer fees are the more traditional way of paying for legal services, another common type of payment is called a contingency fee.This type...

What Are Unearned and Earned Retainer Fees?

"Unearned" retainer fees refers to the money that is placed in the retainer account before the lawyer has earned them. This would be the “allowance...

What Is A Retainer Fee Dispute?

The most common dispute is with “leftover’ funds. This occurs when attorneys fail to return the leftover funds in a timely manner, or the relations...

Why do attorneys charge retainer fees?

Also, the retainer fee aims to protect the attorney from unforeseen circumstances in the future that can prevent clients from meeting their obligations. Once the case has started, the attorney can charge any costs against the retainer fee instead of asking the client to provide extra funds.

What is retainer in legal?

The retainer is usually a fixed amount that the client commits to pay the attorney on a monthly basis in exchange for the opportunity to engage him in the future when legal issues come up.

What is contingency fee agreement?

A contingency fee agreement provides that the lawyer does not get paid unless he wins the case. If the case ends in favor of the client, the attorney takes a percentage of the amount awarded by the court.

What is an unearned retainer fee?

An unearned retainer fee refers to the amount of money deposited in a retainer account before the commencement of work. The amount serves as a guarantee by the client to pay the attorney upon completion of the agreed work. The attorney cannot claim the retainer fee until he has completed the work and invoiced the client.

What is a certified consultant?

Become a certified consultant. , lawyer, freelancer, etc. The fee is commonly associated with attorneys who are hired to provide legal services. . This fee is used to guarantee the commitment of the service provider but does not usually represent all the fees for the entire process.

What is retainer fee?

A retainer fee is one of the most common attorney fee schedules. A retainer is an amount of money that’s paid to a lawyer in advance to retain (hire) him/her to represent you in a legal matter. When setting a retainer fee, an attorney anticipates the amount of legal work that must be done and asks the client to either pay it in full ...

What does it mean to have an attorney on retainer?

Having an attorney on retainer means that you’re paying an attorney a specific advanced legal fee in order to retain (obtain) attorneys legal help in the event of legal troubles. Once an attorney is retained and a retainer fee is paid, the attorney is on standby to assist you with the legal issues for which you’ve retained the attorney.

What is attorney-client relationship?

Also, as soon as a retainer agreement is executed, an attorney-client relationship is usually formed, allowing the client to leverage the attorney’s name or the name of his law firm as the name of the entity representing him in the legal matter. Having the name of a well-known attorney gives the client leverage when negotiating, for example, ...

Is a retainer fee refundable?

Retainer fees are usually nonrefundable. To find out whether the retainer fee you paid to an attorney is refundable, you should consult your retainer fee agreement. Most contracts set out the terms as to whether the retainer fee is refundable.

Is a retainer a deposit?

A retainer fee is not a deposit. A deposit typically refers to a sum of money that’s used to hold services, and it’s usually returned to the payer. However, a retainer is typically used to refer to a sum of money that’s given to an attorney as an advanced payment for legal representation in the future. Once the attorney incurs costs and earns the ...

Do you need to read a retainer agreement before signing it?

Often, when a client signs a retainer fee agreement, he is signing a one-sided document that contains many terms that are in there to protect the attorney and his law firm. As such, you need to read the retainer fee agreement before signing it. We will now go through some of the things to look out for in a retainer fee agreement.

What is retainer in law?

What is a retainer? It’s a certain amount of money an attorney requests from a client to pay for services that will be rendered over time. A lawyer retainer ranges depending on the lawyer, the business, and the nature of the work.

What is included in a retainer agreement?

What’s Included in a Retainer Agreement. Most typical retainer agreements include the amount of the initial retainer fee. It may or may not be refundable depending on the situation and may appear on your agreement for as “earned when paid”. You’ll also find the billing frequency and terms listed.

What are the costs of discovery?

You may also see other costs included in your agreement, especially if the attorney is working on a court case for you such as costs that are associated with the discovery process such as: 1 Depositions 2 Travel expenses 3 Postage 4 Long-distance phone charges 5 Postage

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Does a retainer cover the entire case?

Most often, a retainer does not cover the entire cost of a specific case. Instead, it’s used as an upfront payment and if an attorney needs more money, you’ll be billed again. However, if the attorney doesn’t use all of the money in the retainer, you will often get the remainder returned to you.

What is a Retainer Fee?

A retainer fee is an advance payment that a client makes to his or her lawyer before the lawyer performs any legal work for the client. It is similar to an allowance in that the lawyer is able to draw funds for various fees as the case proceeds.

What are the Benefits of Retainers?

A client may choose to pay using a retainer fee in order to demonstrate that they are serious about their case and wish to retain the lawyer’s services. Retainer fees help to establish a harmonious attorney-client relationship. It indicates that the client can trust the lawyer with their funds and that the two are willing to work together.

Are there Other Types of Fees?

While retainer fees are the more traditional way of paying for legal services, another common type of payment is called a contingency fee.

What is a Retainer Fee Dispute?

The most common dispute is with “leftover’ funds. This occurs when attorneys fail to return the leftover funds in a timely manner, or the relationship ends on negative terms and the client and attorney disagree on what should be paid on the final bill.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you believe you have a retainer fee dispute, an experienced malpractice attorney could help direct you to the resources available to you and inform you of your rights. The retainer agreement usually has a fee arbitration clause in them and that refers to programs that are run by state bar associations and are usually free or low cost.

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How much does a retainer attorney charge?

What is a typical retainer fee attorney? Some lawyers charge retainer fees of $1000, while others charge $5000+. Depending on the lawyer and the complexity of your case, you can usually expect to pay a retainer fee of between $3000 and $5000.

What is retainer fee?

A retainer fee is a down payment for the lawyer’s services. At the very least, it represents an estimate of how much the lawyer thinks it will cost, both in fees and administrative costs, to handle the case. The lawyer must place the retainer in a trust account separate from their business account. They then deduct the costs ...

What is a consultation fee?

A consultation fee is a fee paid for a first time consultation with a divorce lawyer. It is relatively uncommon since most family law attorneys provide consultation for free. These initial consultations often include discussions of what to expect from a divorce. The lawyer will also offer guidelines for how to conduct yourself during the process.

What is contingency fee in divorce?

A contingency fee depends on the outcome of the case. They can either be flat fees or a percentage of the amount awarded in the case. This kind of arrangement is not allowed in divorces by the Washington State Bar.

Is a retainer fee refundable?

The retainer fee may or may not be refundable, though sometimes a court can rule that a non-refundable retainer fee is unreasonable. Usually, any money remaining at the end of the case gets refunded. If the retainer runs out during the case, the client may have to pay additional fees to the lawyer. The lawyer usually sends a monthly account ...

How to pay retainer fees?

Make sure that your contract includes the details of: 1 Contract – The agreement should list the total amount of any retainer deposit that you pay upfront. It should also state when you need to pay additional fees, if necessary. 2 Hourly Fee – Don't look only for the hourly rate of your lawyer on the agreement. Make sure you also see a description of the different hourly rates for each person who might contribute to your case. Ask for your payment schedule. Ask if you get a discount for early payment or if you pay penalties for late fees. 3 Contingency Fee – In a contingency case, the lawyer profits by the percentage they earn upon winning the case. The lawyer's contingency percentage and the payment-collection process should appear clearly outlined in your agreement. Sometimes, a lawyer will not collect any fees from you if they lose a contingency case, such as in personal injury disputes. In other situations, they may demand payment from their client only if they lose the case. 4 Costs of Suit – Check for clear terms to describe who pays for all of the different litigation costs involved. You should anticipate possible charges for court appearances and filing fees, hiring a private investigator, the cost of bringing in an expert witness, costs for officially serving and delivering legal documents, and travel fees.

What is statutory fee?

A statutory fee is a payment determined by the court or laws which applies to your case. You'll encounter a fixed statutory fee when dealing with probate or bankruptcy, for example.

How to avoid disagreements with your attorney?

Either way, most states require evidence of a written fee agreement when handling any disputes between clients and lawyers. You must have written evidence of what you agreed to pay for anyone to hold you accountable for what you have or have not spent.

What is contingency fee?

An attorney contingency fee is only typical in a case where you're claiming money due to circumstances like personal injury or workers' compensation. You're likely to see attorney percentage fees in these situations to average around a third of the total legal settlement fees paid to the client.

What to ask when hiring an attorney?

When hiring your attorney, ask for a detailed written estimate of any expenses or additional costs. They may itemize each expense out for you or lump their fees all together under different categories of work. Lawyers may bill you for: Advice. Research.

Do lawyers charge retainers?

Sometimes lawyers may charge a retainer if they find themselves in high demand. Other lawyers who work more quickly and efficiently may see no need for charging you a retainer fee. Call different lawyers in your area to see if retainers are standard practice for your particular case.

What is retainer fee?

A retainer fee is a prepaid fee used as a guarantee of commitment from professionals, such as lawyers, attorneys, consultants, advisors, and freelancers. It is most familiar in the context of legal services because you pay it when hiring a lawyer and signing a legally binding contract with them. The retainer fee doesn’t guarantee ...

What is earned retainer?

The earned retainer fee is a certain portion of the retainer that your lawyer is entitled to at the beginning of their work. The fee is deposited to the lawyer’s trust fund, and it’s usually billed by the hour for the work done. It can also be distributed for legal tasks, additional materials, and other court fees.

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How to get a refund from a lawyer?

The best way to get a refund is to ask your lawyer directly—you can either send a letter or call them at the office. See if you can set up a meeting to discuss the termination of your agreement and your refund payment.

What is a general operating account?

A general operating account contains the money that’s used by the firm, and a trust account keeps the client’s deposits. The firm can withdraw money from the trust account only after they’ve provided the required services to their client.