What is a retainer?
When engaging in a client-attorney relationship, the client might be required to maintain a retainer. The retainer is the deposit the client initially pays and continues to replenish on a monthly basis. In return, the attorney and legal staff assigned to the case perform legal services necessary to move the case forward.
The client’s retainer is deposited into the law firm’s trust account. After every billing cycle, the client will receive their billing statement showing all the fees and costs incurred and how funds were removed from their retainer. It is the client’s responsibility to then replenish the retainer pursuant to the established fee agreement.
The retainer is not an estimate of attorney fees and costs that may be incurred. The client needs to maintain their retainer level throughout the duration of the law firm’s representation. When the case in complete, all funds remaining in the client’s trust account are returned to the client.