A retainer is a fee paid to an attorney or other professional in advance, for services. Often, retainers are paid monthly, based on an estimate of the amount of work to be done for the client each month.
A retainer might work like this: You would pay your attorney $500 a month for legal services during that month. If you have a question or need a matter handled, it comes off the retainer amount. If you don't use the full amount of the retainer, in most cases you would not get a refund or a credit toward the next month. If you use more time than the retainer amount will cover, you will need to pay the additional fees.
Benefits of a Retainer Arrangement
- A retainer arrangement benefits both the client and the attorney. The attorney has the assurance of a monthly amount, in advance. This is particularly helpful if a client is slow in paying.
- The retainer arrangement is also beneficial for the client because it provides a budget for legal fees.