Law Firm Retainer
[DATE, ex. Wednesday, June 11, 1998]
[NAME, COMPANY AND ADDRESS, ex.
1234 First Street
Anycity, Anystate 85245]
Dear [NAME, ex. John Smith],
Re: Terms of Engagement for Legal Services
We are pleased that you have referred your legal matter to this firm. We will devote the required energy and resources to meet your needs and invite you to stay in close touch with us as we proceed with this matter.
The purpose of this letter is to communicate the terms of our performance of services on your behalf and to raise the various issues which need discussion. Please review this letter carefully and advise us if you have any questions or comments.
1. Scope of our work. We will handle your file in an appropriate manner and will proceed with legal activities which will, in our opinion, meet your needs and your interests. We may, from time to time, need to seek your instructions and may even ask for them in writing. Please communicate with us often in order to ensure that your needs are met.
2. Billing rates for fees. The firm charges clients for legal matters with predetermined billing rates for each lawyer, law clerk and legal assistant. These billing rates are reviewed annually and usually change on January 1 of each year. Your work will proceed on this basis and will be delegated to competent persons whose training and education levels will provide the service you need at the most effective cost to you. Even though this is the normal billing process, there may be times when the firm will appropriately bill you more or less than the standard billing rates. Those will be discussed and mutually agreed upon.
In addition to billing for lawyers, law clerks’ and legal assistants’ fees, we will bill you directly for witness fees, discovery and transcription costs, search and investigation fees, filing fees, court fees, long distance telephone and fax costs, photocopies, postage, messenger service, express service and other kinds of service directly related to handling your legal work.
We will render bills to you at least monthly and expect payment from you upon receipt of our bill, and in any event, no later than 30 days from the date of billing. If your account is not paid within the 30 day time limit, then, in accordance with our firm policy, the management of the firm will insist that no further work be done on your file until the account is paid and your retainer brought up to date.
3. Retainers. In order to administer your file properly, we first obtain from you payment of a retainer fee. This retainer fee stays in our trust account and acts as a fund for the payment of accounts sent to you and disbursements made on your behalf. When we render monthly bills to you, we will use the retainer account to pay those bills and when you send your payment to us it will be used to restore the retainer to its original amount. Upon completion of the work, any unused retainer funds will be refunded to you. As mentioned above, if your retainer is not restored within 30 days after we render our account then no further work be done on your file until is paid and your retainer brought up to date. In such case, it may even be necessary for us to withdraw from representation on your matter.
4. Communication. We will endeavour to keep you informed as your matter progresses and to seek your input as to how you would like us to proceed. Maintaining open communication is very important to us and to you. If you choose to call our lawyers, a fee may be charged; however, for answers to you routine questions (for example, status of your matter), you might be best advised to call the secretary of the lawyer primarily responsible for your file, since the time of secretaries is generally not chargeable to our clients. Any expressions on our part concerning the outcome of your legal matters are expressions of our best professional judgements but are not guarantees. Clerks, legal assistants and secretaries are not authorized to express any such opinions or judgements.
We look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship which will satisfy your legal needs.
[YOUR NAME, ex. Jill Jones]
I (we), have read the foregoing and understand the terms and conditions and agree to these terms and conditions.
DATED: ________________________, 19_____
[CLIENT NAME, ex. John Smith]