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How do retainer fees work?

If you give your lawyer a retainer fee and then feel like they aren't representing you like they should be and want to get a new lawyer, do they have to give you your money back? Or at least part of the money.

Answer Question

Asked by princessamber5 at 7:10 PM on Dec. 20, 2008 in Money & Work

Level 1 (3 Credits)
Answers (5)
  • Nope they will not give you your retainer fee back.You just have to go out there and find a new lawyer.Thank go I have a best friend that is a lawyer,Good luck.What state do you live in I know of two lawywers one is a deputy district attorney and the other has his own practice.

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:00 PM on Dec. 20, 2008

  • I thought the "retainer" fee was if you hired them but I dunno almost seems like you should get it back. Did you not ask this?

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:05 PM on Dec. 20, 2008

  • Anon 6:05

    This question is for my SIL and no I don't think she asked. She did hire the lawyer, but when they went to court for the custody hearing the lawyer didn't really do her job very well. She didn't stand up for my SIL at all. When it was brought up that she had left the state with the child(going back to her home state where her family lives) her lawyer didn't even explain to the judge why she left. Which was because the father is emotionally and verbally abusive.

    Answer by princessamber5 at 10:57 PM on Dec. 20, 2008

  • Anon 6:00

    Yeah I didn't think that they would. That really sucks though because her retainer was 3500. She lives in ID, but has to have a lawyer in WY, because that is the state of residence. or something like that.

    Answer by princessamber5 at 10:58 PM on Dec. 20, 2008

  • The retainer fee is to make sure the lawyer gets paid something. Usually they will deduct the actual expense from the retainer and refund the rest or request more payment if necessary. I'd let the lawyer know you plan to chance and would like a refund of any retain not yet applied to their fees. If they have used it all already, then she's out the money. You would want to check any engagement letters that have been signed tos ee what they say as well.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:28 PM on Dec. 22, 2008

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