A retainer fee is an amount of money you pay upfront to your attorney before legal services are provided to you. Think of it as a down payment you make to your attorney to guarantee that you are provided with legal services later.
A retainer fee is paid in advance of the legal services being provided to you. Some attorneys require the entire retainer fee to be paid in full prior to any work being done on your case. Other attorneys may allow payments to be made on the retainer fee.
The purpose of a retainer fee is to secure the services of the attorney you want to hire, and to ensure your attorney is paid for the time they spend on your case.
The amount of a retainer fee varies greatly from attorney to attorney. Retainer fees are typically based on the years of experience your attorney has, the attorney’s hourly rate, the type of legal case you have, and the complexity of your case.
A retainer fee covers payment of the time your attorney will spend on your case (their billable time). It may also cover costs such as filing fees, service fees, postage, and any other cost associated with your case. Your contract should address the specifics of what your retainer fee will be used for. So, review the terms of your contract carefully.
Whether or not a retainer fee is refundable is determined by your contract with your attorney. Some retainer fees are non-refundable. If a retainer fee is non-refundable, you will not receive a refund of any portion of your retainer (no matter how many or few hours were spent on your case). Other retainer fees are refundable, meaning you will be refunded any unearned portion of your retainer when the case has concluded. Every contract is different, so understand your contract before you sign it.
When hiring an attorney, make sure you understand how much your retainer fee will be, when you will be required to pay the retainer fee, what your retainer fee will cover (legal service and/or costs), and when legal service will begin on your case. If you have questions about retainer fees, or wonder what Schmitt Law, PLLC requires for a retainer fee, contact Schmitt Law, PLLC to discuss.
At Schmitt Law, PLLC, we understand filing for divorce can be an emotional and confusing experience. That’s why we are committed to providing personalized service to each client we represent and will be with you through this difficult journey. At Schmitt Law, PLLC we encourage clients to take a more collaborative approach to divorce that promotes positive communication and cooperation. Through mediation or the collaborative divorce process, Laurie guides her clients through amicable divorce settlements so they can move forward with their life. To discuss your circumstances and legal options, contact Schmitt Law, PLLC at (616) 608-4634 to schedule a consultation. Or contact us online to arrange a consultation. Our office is located at 401 Hall Street SW Suite 112D, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.