A retainer fee is a payment made to a professional, often a lawyer, by a client for future services. Retainer fees do not guarantee an outcome or final product. Portions of retainer fees can be refunded if services end up costing less than originally planned.
Do attorneys return unused retainers?
The attorney cannot claim the retainer fee until he has completed the work and invoiced the client. Any remaining retainer fee after paying the hourly attorney fees should be returned to the client.
Are retainer payments refundable?
A true retainer is earned whether or not any work was done and is essentially an option contract. … Here’s the kicker—only the true retainer is non-refundable. Unearned funds from either a security or advanced payment retainer must be refunded at the end of the work.
Can I cancel a retainer agreement?
All states allow clients to terminate their attorneys, as well as any related retainer agreements, for any reason whatsoever. … If you have already retained another attorney, the letter of termination should contain a request that the case file be forwarded to your new legal counsel.
Are deposits refundable?
In summary, a deposit is security for the buyer’s performance of the contract. It is generally not refundable unless the contract expressly states otherwise. In contrast, a part-payment is refundable, subject to any losses that the innocent party may have as a result of the breach.
Are attorney fees refundable?
The good news is that attorneys are required to refund any unearned legal fees. Every state bar association has enacted their own rules of professional conduct. … Each state requires that attorney refund any unearned legal fees.
How long is a lawyer retainer good for?
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. For instance, if a client pays a $3,000 retainer, and the attorney only accrues $2,000 of billing and expenses on the matter, $1,000 is returned to the client.
How do I ask for a lawyer refund?
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.
Is a retainer fee the same as a deposit?
As you know, the words “retainer” and “deposit” are used interchangeably. … 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.
When can you terminate a retainer?
A client can terminate a solicitors’ retainer at any time. Issues may then arise as to costs; but that is largely beyond the scope of this book. A solicitor may not terminate the retainer save for good reason and upon reasonable notice being provided.
Can you fire a lawyer after signing a retainer?
You as a client have an absolute right to fire, or “discharge,” your lawyer at any time. By signing a retainer, that does not mean that a client is joined at the hip with his or her lawyer until the bitter end. … A client may fire their current lawyer at any time and hire better representation.
Is a retainer legally binding?
A retainer is a legally binding contract, and violating it could have serious consequences. If you’re not sure you should agree to a retainer, don’t do it without consulting a lawyer — because once you sign that document, it’s hard to go back.
When can a deposit be non-refundable?
From this stems the rule that deposits in law are not refundable if the buyer cancels the contract before completion. If the contract does not describe the advance payment as a deposit and there are no grounds to believe that the payment is unconditional on the buyer’s performance, it will be classed as a part-payment.
What is a non-refundable retainer?
That opinion stated that “a retainer is that non- refundable fee paid by a client to secure an attorney’s availability over a given period of time and is not required to be retained in the attorney’s trust account since it is considered to be earned by the lawyer at the time of payment.
Can a security deposit be non-refundable?
The holding deposit can only be retained by the landlord or their agent if the tenant signs the lease agreement, or having paid the holding deposit chooses not to sign the lease. In short, if the tenant pays a deposit then chooses not to proceed with signing the lease, the holding deposit is not refundable.