Best Attorney Retainer Agreement Templates (Word / PDF)

An attorney retainer agreement is a type of document when you are hiring a lawyer. Further, It involves the payment of a “retainer fee,” which is an advance payment made by the client to the lawyer. A payment helps secure the lawyer’s services and shows that the client is willing to hire the lawyer. Normally, you keep the funds separately in the account. Legal fees may be paid later or after the case is closed. Alternatively, they may be completed using a contingency fee arrangement. Therefore, they may choose to retain an attorney through a retainer agreement, which transforms their one-time agreement into a long-term working relationship. Similarly, in the period specified in the retainer agreement, the attorney is required to take care of any legal issues the client chooses to pursue. Attorneys generally charge a lower rate on retainer, since they might not have to do any work.

Types of Legal Services

  • Arbitration
  • Business / Corporate
  • Criminal
  • Divorce
  • Estate Planning
  • Family Law
  • Immigration
  • Intellectual Property
  • Litigation
  • Malpractice
  • Mediation
  • Personal Injury
  • Probate
  • Real Estate (housing)

What is Attorney Retainer?

An attorney retainer agreement is a pre-payment for an attorney’s services. Typically, attorneys will ask for a retainer to begin working on a case that will require a minimum number of hours. In most cases, retainers are refundable if the case is resolved earlier than expected.

Are Retainer Agreements Mandatory?

There is no requirement for retainer fee agreements. However, there are no laws requiring clients and attorneys to form a retainer agreement. An agreement of this type is completely voluntary and based on the preferences of the parties. If the parties decide to form a retainer agreement, they should draft a written agreement. They will be able to put all the different terms in writing, including the amount of payment, how the money will be used, and remedies in case of legal conflict. When the contract is signed, it becomes legally binding.

What is a Retainer Agreement Violation?

The retainer agreement violation can be done in many ways. These are the followings:

  • Failing to separate the money from the case.
  • Using the money for personal purposes rather than to assist with the trial.
  • Problems with terms of payment.

Generally, after paying the retainer fee will not return. When entering into a retainer agreement violation, the client must exercise foresight. Usually, damages are awarded for agreement violations. To compensate for improper use of retainer fees, the lawyer may have to pay damages.

How to Become an Attorney?

An attorney must complete extensive post-secondary education to become an attorney. Professional lawyers must have the following qualifications:

  • It usually takes four years to obtain a bachelor’s degree
  • Take the law school admissions test;
  • Attend law school and obtain a Juris Doctor (generally takes three years);
  • Work in the field (not always required); and take the bar exam.

How Much Does an Attorney Make?

As a result of the extensive education and experience required by legal practitioners, annual salaries are well above the national average. However, a consulting job’s salary can vary drastically depending on the type and area of expertise. Average salary: $120,910/year – $88,123/year

Retainer Agreement Samples

These types of documents are easily available online. Further, you can download free of cost. After download, you can customize the document and fill in the requirements according to your state’s needs. You may also like Power of Attorney Forms & Letters.

Unearned Retainer Vs. Earned Retainer

In the context of legal services, there are primarily two types of retainers: earned and unearned. However, a retainer agreement that includes an unearned portion of the total fee is an unearned retainer. The client promise that he will pay the remainder after the work is complete and you should take it as a sign of good faith. On the other hand, an earned retainer does not require a deposit of any kind. It is not difficult to draft a retainer agreement with this clause. Further, it is a simple clause that you can add or remove depending on the type of retainer the client wants.

Retainer Agreement For An Attorney

It is not difficult to draft an attorney retainer agreement with the template we have developed for your convenience. Similarly, it makes it a very versatile resource for clients who will show an interest in retaining an attorney. On a retainer basis, you can modify to fit your needs and the area of expertise of the attorney.

How does a retainer work with a lawyer?

As the name implies, a retainer is a simple agreement that binds a lawyer to cater to the client’s needs for an agreed-upon period. As a general rule, the client “pre-pays” the lawyer for the number of hours he/she estimates it will take to complete the work assigned to them. The client then offers to pay a wage based on the number of hours in advance to “retain” the lawyer’s services.

How does a lawyer retainer last?

The decision is largely dependent on the client’s wishes and ability to pay the lawyer. However, it is possible to retain a lawyer for any amount of time, as long as both parties agree and the client can afford to pay the lawyer for the estimated number of hours.

How much does a lawyer retainer cost?

With an average hourly rate of $58 in the United States, retainers generally mean discounted hours from lawyers. However, hiring and retaining lawyers is an expensive affair and can range from $2,000 to as high as $100,000, as this largely depends on the client, their legal needs, the area of expertise of the lawyer or firm, and a variety of other factors. As a result, holding a lawyer on retainer is rather expensive.


An attorney retainer agreement is a work-for-hire agreement or a service contract between a company or a client. The contract falls between a one-off contract and a permanent employment contract. However, clients and customers can pay in advance for professional services provided by a business or individual. An attorney can request any amount as a retainer fee. It may be as low as $500 or as high as $5,000. In some cases, attorneys base retainer fees on their hourly rate multiplied by the number of hours they estimate your case will take.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 1

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.