How a Lawyer Retainer Works

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A lawyer retainer is a set amount of money that a client pays to secure the services and time of an attorney. This money is deposited in a special account, and the attorney bills against this amount as they work on the case at hand. This money is then refunded to the client once the attorney has earned it or used it for legitimate expenses (such as travel or filing fees).

There are many different types of retainer fees, including hourly rates, flat fees, and contingency fee agreements. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to know what you need in a retainer agreement before you sign one.

General Retainers

General retainers are a traditional type of legal retainer that covers a broad range of issues for a particular period of time. They allow clients to have an attorney available to deal with issues ranging from simple real estate matters to complex cases.

This type of retainer is typically the most common for lawyers, as it provides them with a predictable monthly fee and the flexibility to deal with various cases that arise over the course of the year. It can also give clients peace of mind knowing that they have a legal advocate on call should they ever need one.

Retainer Fees in a Trust Account

Most retainer fees are paid in advance and deposited in a separate trust account. The attorney then withdraws money from the account as they work on the case and refunds the client any leftover funds at the conclusion of the case.

These fees can be helpful if you have a large amount of work to do on a single project, but they may not be appropriate for long-term contracts or ongoing legal representation. It’s best to talk with the lawyer about a retainer fee arrangement before signing one, so you can get an idea of how it will work.

Security Retainers

A security retainer is another type of retainer that is usually paid in advance and deposited in a trust account. It can be a good way to ensure that the lawyer will be paid when they are needed most, such as in the event of bankruptcy or other major financial crisis. Recommended this site personal injury attorney in DC .

The money you deposit in the account is used for the attorney’s expenses and is refunded to you once the case is over. You can ask the lawyer to send you a bill every month or quarter that details how much has been withdrawn and how much is still in the account.

Retainer Fees in an Earned or Unearned Bank Account

If you pay a retainer in an earnest money account, it is considered an “unearned” retainer. This means that you have to replenish the account if it drops below the agreed upon amount.

Retainer fees are often used in contingency fee arrangements, which require the lawyer to be paid a percentage of any lump sum settlement or trial award they receive on your behalf. This makes the lawyer more likely to win your case, and it’s often worth paying a higher retainer fee for this benefit.

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