What is a Lawyer Retainer Fee and How does it Work
Lawyer Retainer Fee
Lawyers charge a fee for their services, as most people do for professional services. Their fees may seem high, but when you consider the years of education and the number of exams it takes along with ongoing educational requirements by the Bar, most lawyers charge an amount reflecting their accomplishments. It is always a good idea to find out about a lawyer’s fee arrangements before you decide to hire them or sign a client contract, as there are different ways a lawyer typically handles their fee requirements. In most instances, at least a certain percentage of the projected cost will be required up-front before the lawyer will begin your case. The word used for the required up-front money is “retainer”. In other words, the up-front money holds or retains the lawyer’s services. There are three types of retainers commonly used by most lawyers.
General: This type of retainer covers the lawyer’s services for a specific period of time. Typically lawyers charge by the hour, so the lawyer would estimate the number of hours needed to complete the case and times it by their hourly rate. If the lawyer needs more hours than the retainer covers, they will ask for more payment to continue. If it takes fewer hours than anticipated, the remaining money will be refunded. Any litigating costs will also be added.
Retaining fee: A lump sum is placed in a trust fund to cover the costs related to the case. These costs can include filing fees, preparation, mediation (in Florida, for example, most Family Law matters are required to attend mediation before a court date in front of a judge can be scheduled), depositions, motions, and presentation in court. The hourly rate for the lawyer’s time is also included in the final cost calculation, and any money needed to complete the case will be paid. When the case is completed, if all the money is not used, the remainder will be returned.
Special retainer: Sometimes, a lawyer will simply charge a flat fee. The fee is designed to cover the entire cost of the client’s case, from start to finish. The lawyer has calculated what should be a reasonable cost for litigating the case. If, however, the cost is less than anticipated, the lawyer keeps all the money, and none is returned. On the flip side, should the case become complicated and cost more than anticipated, the client is not charged for the additional time or expenses. Additionally, should the client decide to terminate the lawyer before the case is finished, no money will be returned.
As mentioned at the beginning of this blog, if you don’t want some possible costly surprises when you hire a lawyer, you need to discuss retainer fees and how they will work before you sign a contract. For someone needing a Family Law lawyer and living in Florida in the counties of Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, or Hillsborough or New York, or Washington DC, Attorney Grant Gisondo, a board-certified Marital and Family Law attorney, is ready to help. He has over a decade of successfully representing clients in the areas of Marital and Family Law, including pre and post-marital agreements, divorce (dissolution of marriage), equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities, alimony, child support, parental timesharing, parenting plans, and post-decree modifications. To help you answer your questions, including how his fee arrangements work, and to get to know him, Attorney Gisondo offers a free, initial, in-office consultation. You can make an appointment by calling his office, located in Palm Beach Gardens, at (561) 530-4568. His office hours are Monday through Friday from 9;00 AM to 5:00 PM and for new clients on Saturday from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM. To learn more about Attorney Gisondo and his law practice, you can check his website at https://gisondolaw.com.