ATTORNEY-CLIENT RETAINER AGREEMENT
This Agreement is entered into by and between the
Law office of ____________________________, called "ATTORNEY"
_________________________________________ called "CLIENT".
CLIENT hires law office of _____________________, and any attorneys, law clerks, paralegals, and
legal assistants, hired (as employees or independent contractors) now or in the future by the law
office of _______________________, to do the following legal work:
WHO WORKS ON THE CASE
Attorney has the right to bring in other lawyers to work on this case. Also, Client gives the power
for all lawyers, law clerks, paralegals, legal assistants and interns who are now working for
Attorney as employees or independent contractors or individuals who are hired in the future, to
work on this case by ______________________ or any other lawyer in the firm, will not perform any
service for CLIENT unless it says so in this Agreement.
Client gives Attorney the right to take all steps in this case that the Attorney believes worth doing,
including filing lawsuits or other legal papers. When Attorney believes it is right to do so, Attorney
will give way to the CLIENT to make decisions.
RESULTS NOT GUARANTEED
Client has been told, recognizes and understands that Attorney has made no guarantee
promising the success or outcome of this case.
Client agrees to pay to Attorney all legal fees figured as follows:
Attorney does legal services and Client agrees to pay to Attorney, a minimum and a Non-
Refundable Retainer Fee of ________________. This amount is a true retainer fee and its payment
by Client to Attorney guarantees that the Attorney will set time aside for this case. Client
understands that the non-refundable retainer allows Attorney to limit the number of clients,
giving more time for each client's case. Client understands and agrees that Attorney may deposit
this retainer into Attorney’s general bank account instead of a Client trust account and that
Attorney may use all of it.
All legal work will be charged against the retainer. Client will be billed at an hourly rate of
_________ per hour. Client will be billed at this rate anytime an Attorney works on Client file,
including but not limited to time spent writing, re-viewing and signing letters, file review, legal
research, preparing or responding to interrogatories or other information gathering procedures,
preparation of court papers, telephone or conference time with Client, relatives, friends or other
persons involved in the case, depositions, meetings with experts, travel time front the office and
return, court appearances (which includes waiting time for a judge, the opposing attorney or a
courtroom to open up and any other time spent and/or work performed relating to Client's case.
AFTER HOURS AND RUSH WORK: Any legal services performed in the office between 8:30 p.m.
and 8:30 a.m. or on weekends, holidays, or on a rush basis will be charged at the rate of
_____________ per hour.
ADDITIONAL FEES: Client understands Attorney uses assistants and paralegals to do quality
legal work at a savings to Client. Client agrees that Attorney also meets with staff and reviews
their work. Client agrees to pay for that time. Client will be billed for time spent by Paralegals at
an hourly rate of $ 100 and Legal Assistants at an hourly rate of $ 150 and Law Clerks at an
hourly rate of $175. Client agrees and understands that Paralegals, Law Clerks and Legal
Assistants billing time includes that time spent in helping Attorney working on Client’s file as well
as time spent with Client in person or on the telephone and time spent photocopying papers or
any other time spent on Client's file. Client agrees and understands that conversations with
bookkeepers, legal assistants or paralegals are not legal advice. However, in an attempt to keep
costs down by Attorney to relay information to Client, Client agrees that research and other work
that Attorney believes important may be done by a law clerk, paralegal, legal assistant or any
other employee Attorney believes able to do the work.
FEES BEYOND RETAINER
Client has read and understands that this Agreement calls for any and all fees to be figured on an
hourly basis and that the total fee can and probably will be more than the retainer paid under
The Attorney may suggest using experts, such as investigators, appraisers, accountants, mental
health professionals or social workers. Client understands that it is Client’s responsibility and
Client’s responsibility alone, to hire and pay for the experts. It is also Client's responsibility to
keep Attorney informed of the progress made by each expert throughout Client's case.
If Attorney uses computer programs or software’s to help Client in his case, Client will be charged
a $75.00 fee for each program used. This charge is for or use of the program only and does not
include time spent by Attorney or staff.
COURT REPORTER COSTS
Client shall pay Court Reporter at the rate of $200 per half day. Client understands that this
money has not been given to Attorney. Client will have to bring the $200 in cash to court any
time Client's case is before the court. Client understands and agrees that if Client does not bring
the sum of $200 for each day Client's case is before the Court, Client will have to waive the right
to a Court Reporter which would make it difficult, if not impossible, to appeal any court orders or
Any time Attorney uses a messenger service to deliver or pick up papers to or from the court,
another attorney or other places, a flat fee of $10.00 will be charged per trip.
PAYMENT OF COSTS
Client agrees to pay all postage costs, including First Class and Overnight, as needed. costs
include filing fees, service of papers, deposition and transcript costs, appraisals, parking, in
addition to express nail, photocopying and faxing. Client will be billed at the rate of $3.50 per
page faxed or received. Client will be billed for photocopies at the rate of fifty cents for each page
copied. This charge includes staff time spent making copies. Client understands that these
monies are in addition to the retainer. Attorney estimates that Court costs will be $ 800 Client
has given to Attorney $800 towards costs.
Client understands that it is attorney's policy not to advance any costs. Client by signing below
understands and agrees that no papers can be filed with the court or depositions scheduled or
service of process" made or appraisals obtained until client has deposited the money in to
Attorneys trust account. If there are emergencies when Attorney advances any costs, Client shall
reimburse Attorney immediately upon attorney's request. Failure of client to reimburse Attorney
may result in Attorney withdrawing from Client’s file.
PAYMENT OF MONEY IN TRUST FOR COSTS
Client gives the right to attorney to withdraw money from client's trust account, to pay back
attorney for actual costs paid by the Attorney at the end of the case, Client also authorizes
attorney to withdraw money from client’s trust account to reimburse Attorney for unpaid legal
a. BILLS: Bills will be figured in tenths of one hour. Each tenth of an hour equals six
b. MINIMUM BILLINGS: Client understands that when attorney is in the office, Attorney
charges a minimum of two-tenths hours (12 minutes) for client's case, including
telephone calls, except for reviewing and signing letters which will be billed for one-tenth
Attorney will bill monthly for legal services. Bills will show the time spent on all work, the work
that was done and the billing rate. The bill also shows any credits or money left on account as
well as any money due now for work done on Client's case.
Bills are payable immediately when received. Bills not paid within thirty (30) days will be charged
a late charge at a simple interest rate of eighteen percent (18%) per year,
CHANGES IN PAYING
If Client wants to make partial monthly payments for attorney's fees, these arrangements must be
agreed upon in advance in writing, between attorney and client. Any arrangements for payment
by client in monthly installments will require client to sign a promissory note.
If Attorney agrees to accept monthly payments from client, a credit check will be necessary. Upon
signing this agreement, Client gives attorney the right to do a credit check on client and obtain a
Client agrees to pay a $20.00 service charge, in addition to any and all bank charges, if Client
writes a check that is returned for any reason whatsoever, including insufficient funds or stop
POLICY ABOUT NOT PAYING
This law firm is willing to arrange a reasonable payment plan for Client after the initial retainer
has been used up. However, if Client refuses to pay the bill or make arrangements to pay the bill
within thirty (30) days of the bill being sent, Attorney will file a Motion to Withdraw at the earliest
possible time and seek to collect fees and costs owed, plus any late charges due by collection or
BILLING REOUESTS AND COMPLAINTS
Unless client mails to attorney a written complaint about a bill within 30 days after the date on
the envelope, that bill shall be totally acceptable to client and client shall pay the full amount
without a complaint. Client may ask for a bill at any time. Attorney will mail a bill to client within
72 hours of any written request (holidays and weekends excluded).
a. Attorney shall have the right to require client to pay an additional retainer or higher -
monthly payments towards attorney's fees based on the amount of work which client's
case is likely to cost in the future and how quickly the bill has been paid by client in the
past. Attorney shall also have the right to require client to give attorney security or more
security, for past-due balances or future fees and costs. This could be a trust deed to a
house or a "pink slip" to a car or truck. if this is asked of the client, the client has the
right to ask another attorney to review the arrangement before client signs the security
agreement or deed. Also, attorney, before obtaining a family law real property lien on real
property, must apply to the court for permission before the lien becomes effective. An
additional retainer, higher monthly payments or a form of security will be required if
client's balance for services is more than $1,500.00.
a. should client receive any cash or property by-agreement, settlement or judgment, or
order during or after client's case, such as money from the sale of a house, business, etc.,
client agrees to have this money deposited into attorney's trust account and client gives
attorney authority to pay any balance due attorney out of this money before transferring
the balance to client. Client agrees that attorney may file and record this lien and/-or file
b. In case this agreement is ended and attorney’s fees and/or costs are owed by the client,
attorney shall have a lien on all property or assets of client to secure the fees and/or
Notice is hereby given that ATTORNEY all the services by Attorney are covered by Legal
Any modification, amendment or change of this Agreement will be effective only if it is in writing
signed by both parties.
This Agreement, and all transactions contemplated by this Agreement, shall be governed by,
construed and enforced in accordance with the law of the State of_____. Both parties agree the
venue shall be in the county where the parties reside.
ARBITRATION/SMALL CLAIMS COURT
Both ATTORNEY and CLIENT agree to resolve all fee disputes by binding arbitration before the
______ County Bar Association or _______State Bar Arbitration Program, except for fee disputes in
Small Claims Court.
Attorney's Initials Client's Initials
Attorney understands that it is the wish of the client to have attorney represent client only so
long as client is totally satisfied with the services done by attorney and the fees and costs charged
by attorney. Client agrees and it is the wish of attorney to represent only client's who:
a. are satisfied with the services of attorney;
b. does what the attorneys tell client to do; and
c. Pays attorney for legal work and court costs spent.
ATTORNEYS RIGHT TO WITHDRAW
Client understands that he or she has the right to have the attorney, on client's request, get out
of the case by requesting that attorney sign a form called substitution of attorney. Client also
understands that when this happens, the client will receive the original file from the attorney and
that the attorney can only keep the original notes or personal papers. Attorney believing that she
also has the right to get out of the case, will ask the client to sign the substitution of attorney
form, if. Any of the following problems happen:
1. client wants to do or suggests a criminal or illegal act; or
2. attorney discovers client has used attorney's services to do an illegal act; or
3. client insists that attorney do something that is unethical or is unwise; or
4. if client and attorney do not get along to the point that they mistrust each other; or
5. client does not talk or write to the attorney; or
6. if client's bill goes unpaid for a period over 30 days beyond the due date; or
7. client refuses to accept or offer a settlement which attorney believes is reasonable; or
8. client does not follow attorney's advice.
Attorney will not file a substitution of attorney form or motion to withdraw as attorney unless the
following protections have been made:
1. attorney gives client enough notice to get a new attorney;
2. attorney delivers to client all papers and property belonging to client.
3. attorney acts to keep client safe from possible harm by an upcoming court hearing or
other action by obtaining a continuance.
If the client refuses to sign the substitution of attorney form when asked within ten (10) days, the
attorney has the right to file a motion to withdraw as attorney.
It is the right of the client to substitute attorney out of client's case at any time. client realizes
that a substitution has no effect on the fees and costs in this agreement.
After this agreement is ended by substitution or motion to withdraw, attorney has the right to
have a copy of client's file and will have the right to charge client $ ____________ per page.
Client understands that the attorney usually sees client after making an appointment, except
emergencies. Walk-in appointments are not made, unless an emergency. Client understands that
attorney may from time to time have to change appointments and that this will be done at the
earliest possible time. Client further understands that attorney may have to change an
appointment at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances. Attorney apologizes in advance
for any and all inconveniences this may cause client. Attorney would appreciate client notifying
attorney of any appointments client is unable to keep.
CLIENTS RIGHT TO WITHDRAW
Client understands that client may end this agreement, with or without cause, in writing to
attorney. Attorney shall return the client's original file promptly after this agreement ends.
Client understands that client has the right to talk to another lawyer before signing this
agreement. Client agrees that no legal work will be performed by attorney until the retainer fee is
paid in full.
RIGHTS OF CLIENT TO INDEPENDENT REVIEW
Client understands that there are to be no additions, strike outs, changes or waivers of any kind
whatsoever to this agreement unless the change is in writing and signed by both attorney and
client. Further, client understands that this agreement applies to this case only, not to other
cases or legal problems.
ACTIONS NOT COVERED BY THIS AGREEMENT
Some events not covered by this agreement are post-judgment motions, motions to set aside or
vacate judgment, notions for new trial or any other actions of any kind filed after the divorce
judgment, including actions to secure or protect retirement benefits. CLIENT also understands
that contempt actions are not covered by this Agreement regardless of whether they are pre or
Further, client understands that bringing or defending appeals are not covered by this agreement
regardless of when the need for such actions may arise.
INCREASE IN HOURLY RATES
CLIENT understands and agrees that ATTORNEY may change the hourly rates during the term of
this Agreement by giving CLIENT thirty (30) days notice In advance in writing.
CLIENT swears or affirms that he or she has read, understands and agrees to this contract and
has been given a copy of it.