5/17/2016 – Reviewing Proposed Attorney Retainer Agreements
Generally attorneys can’t predict the future. However, when we are reviewing a case, we analyze many issues and factors, including how we will get paid for our labors. No lawyer wants to take a case for less than he/she perceives is fair. It makes sense then, that many Attorneys structure their retainer agreements to be “in their favor.”
Experience has shown that many clients sign agreements without analyzing them properly. The client just spilled her guts and opened up her biggest fears and personal/private life to someone she just met. It’s certainly uncomfortable to then question the attorney’s “proposed” agreement, as it seems to disrespect the attorneys integrity from the start.
Instead, it might be a good idea to ask to take the agreement with you to review it. You can also, at that time, inquire as to how the attorney expects to be paid (credit card/check, etc.) inferring that you are seriously considering retaining the firm. If you have a lengthy trip from the office back to your home, you might advise that you have some other business in the area and that you might be able to come back, later in the day with any final questions. This will give you time to review the agreement in detail, send it to your “life-lines” to see what they think, and decide if you should move forward.
In your final moments leaving the attorneys office you might ask the attorney if the fee he/she quoted is the best that he/she can do. Many times, by simply asking for a break, an attorney will give you a courtesy discount. Imagine that you could save hundreds or thousands of dollars by simply getting the courage to ask.