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Do you know what is a retainer agreement? This article talks about how it can help your business and in which cases it can be beneficial for your client's business.

Also we'll be going over working on retainer concept in detail:

Retainer Agreement:

A retainer agreement is a contract between you and your client that pays you in advance. Typically, companies will charge a specific amount of dollars per month to be hired.

There are two sides of each retainer agreement : one from you taking on your client's business and tasking them with their legal needs, as well as an independent side between the attorney or law firm who takes care of these tasks for this client. Typically most legal firms will have an hourly rate, or a flat-fee.

A retainer agreement can also be referred to as in advance work on cases where you are hired as the lawyer for your client's legal needs.

The payment terms can vary, with hourly agreements the most common but they may be adopted as working capital and interest free loans.

You are hired to help protect the business of your client and provide representation on issues that may arise from either a civil matter .

Normally these legal services will be seen as supplemental rather than emergency, thus do not come with pressure to produce results.

You must trust your attorney implicitly because they are handling this sensitive case for you doing so is their job.

What does it mean by working on retainer :

  • This means that you are hired by the client of your law firm on a contract basis. Typically, retainer agreements known as in advance work where funds are paid to hire an attorney for their specific needs such as legal representation and consultations.
  • Depending upon their nature, these firms choose one or multiple counties depending on what matters they want to be involved with from products liability defense offices .
  • The amount of time needed can happen at any time, but it's generally around two hours a month.
  • The case can also be referred to as a litigation , whereby you will provide legal services for issues from civil lawsuit proceedings .
  • Regardless of that though, the retainer agreement is much different than an hourly or flat fee agreement.
  • You'll have multiple contracts with attorney who should take care if things happen allow them to use their time and expertise on your client's cases there are no added implied or stipulated conditions to receiving the money.
  • In other words, you're paid a flat fee for each and every case that your client hires you for irrespective of how much time is required help with their legal action .
  • Another way this type of agreement works is if they hire an attorney multiple times within a span of months then on all these cases the company will pay one retainer.

Pros of working on retainer:

1) Steady Pay:

You are essentially working on retainer agreements for clients who wish to continue business with you long after their initial engagement.

This means that, your client does not have the pressure of having to pay hour by hour and will be able to think clearly when it comes down plaintiff or defendants versus defense.

You can also build a relationship over time with some clients building trust, thus taking them through everything like getting in an accident at work due totaled to a client's negligence.

In such cases, the retainer may raise its own crises referring them to you can have been one of your company’s finest work -one that is described as an emergency.

2) Clients Love Them:

Your clients will love working on retainer agreements because they get time to satisfy their cases and focus on the huge picture.

However, as a lawyer, you may discover that these settlements are sometimes more important than your client's defense, so you should be careful about heading up an agreement in advance.

Even after having used over lengthy amounts of time, the benefits of employing contract work over hourly rates -in any kind of business or legal matter - is paying taxes from one rate.

3) In the long run, it is cheaper:

The advantages of retainer agreements extend beyond the reason why they are a bad idea.

Not only will you be able to reproduce results as a retainer is paid out, but you may also be less difficult to work with when it comes down to paying their bills quickly or attending mandatory court cases in near-term dates.

4) Better Results:

The reason why retainer agreements are so good in terms of results compared to hourly rates is because full time employees face the pressure of having to pick up their cases hours by hour and they often forget that there's work to be done when clients or end users simply want a handshake out after receiving payment.

A lawyer may also find himself constantly nervous or stressing over paying his bills as he has no control over how much time his cases may take in the long run and it can be extremely frustrating when you have outstanding balances.

Cons of working on retainer:

1) Scheduling Conflicts:

If you are running a small team, then this is not too much of an issue for most clients.

But as you begin to schedule agreements in advance and want more than just one client at a time on retainer projects, it could be hard work finding the right talent to serve all your needs.

2)Less Pay:

Hourly rates may be a lot more attractive for young law students or fresh lawyers who are just starting out on their career.

But if you want to support yourself with the same rate occasionally, then that means you'll need to work less hours over time.

Which in turn is subjecting your wallet and bank balance to physical harm overtime because it's simply unsustainable until every client goes bust...or at least after three reliable years of billings when you start bringing in income to live on

3) Longer Time Periods:

Hourly rates means clients will expect you to be working shorter hours over time and they won't want to wait long waiting periods for their legal services.

Hourly law firms basically charge on the things that are most relevant in a matter instead of taking into account if the project or issue has urgent clarification needs beyond what's being claimed by your hourly billing rate.

At times it may seem unfair, but this is the actual reality of legal fees.

It's not only unfair, it can be incredibly expensive as well if an issue comes up that takes a long time to resolve or is unexpected and causes you to exceed your maximum billings run – which means higher bills for clients in future down the line .

4)Not every month is filled:

A lot of starting lawyers who depart from law firms and their hourly billing are already working at different private legal practices, virtual offices and overall other ways to make a living.

Because there's no formal timing for how much this will affect them, they don't get the time to spend fully in another place where they'll be seeing nothing other than billings for an hour or two or less non-stop throughout work hours.


It’s a great option for some clients, but it’s not for everyone. Before you jump headfirst into a retainer agreement, think about whether or not you really need one.

You may find yourself happier without one.

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