What is “Retaining an Attorney” ?
Most people have heard the term “retain a lawyer” or you need to “retain an attorney”. Unless you have had to actually engaged the services of an attorney or lawyer. You probably are not sure what retaining an Attorney means. The term retain simply means to engage or hire an attorney by a payment of a preliminary fee, a retainer fee. So retaining an attorney means to hire a lawyer.
What is an attorney retainer fee?
Not all attorneys will charge a retainer fee, and certainly the retainer fees will vary between lawyers. But, in general, a retainer is an upfront deposit of the attorney’s fee which ensures the attorney that he or she will be paid for the legal work performed.[pullquote]Flexible Payment Plans Available [/pullquote] The amount of the retainer fee also is heavily dependent upon the type of case and the complexity involved. Most attorneys will set the retainer fee based upon the estimated time involved in the case. Of course this is not scientific. It is quite common for the fees to exceed the initial retainer. Before retaining an attorney, be sure you understand the fees.
Another factor which is used in calculating a lawyer’s retainer fee is the reservation of the attorney’s time. A lawyer typically lives by the calendar. In the practice of law, the attorney has two things that are considered stock in trade: expertise, and time. If you hire an attorney to take your case, there is less time for the lawyer for another case. So even if the attorney doesn’t do a large amount of work, the time reservation and commitment requires compensation. Sometimes a person will retain an attorney to be there if and when needed.
Choosing the Right Lawyer[pullquote]The decision to retain a lawyer[/pullquote] to represent you in any legal matter is very serious and should be considered very carefully. But when the issue involves such life altering circumstances like getting a divorce, filing bankruptcy or being charged with a crime, your choice of an attorney to represent you is even more important. Before retaining an Attorney ask these questions and discuss any concerns you may have.
Remember, however, that most attorneys will not be able to quote you a specific retainer before being able to analyze the case. So it is advisable to set a consultation appointment with a lawyer (often times no cost) in order to get an accurate quote of the retainer and attorney fees involved.