Lawyer Referral Service

LRS Blog

Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Jun 4, 2015

It happens in the movies all the time. A character’s involved in an argument and they say they’re going to call their lawyer. In real life, it’s not uncommon for a person to have a lawyer on retainer that they contact any time a legal issue arises. In this case, the client pays the lawyer a small sum on a regular basis in exchange for legal services any time the client needs them.


Lawyer explaining legal situation to her clients

While that may sound useful, it doesn’t always make sense to have an attorney on retainer. Retainers are the most useful for businesses that need continual legal work, but don’t have enough money to have a full time lawyer. Individuals who need a lot of legal work might also consider having a lawyer on retainer. If you’re not sure if you need a lawyer on retainer, ask the following questions:


  1. How often do you need a lawyer? Most people need an attorney once every few years unless an accident happens. In this case, keeping an attorney on retainer may not be financially sound.
  2. Does your insurance policy pay attorney fees? Most insurance policies, including auto and homeowner’s insurance, will pay for an attorney should you be involved in an accident.
  3. Does your employer provide a lawyer as one of your benefits? If you are an employee of a large company, or a union member, a lawyer on call may be part of your benefits. They can handle most routine legal matters, such as wills and real estate transactions, as well as certain lawsuits.

One advantage of having an attorney on retainer is that your lawyer is then unable to work for your adversaries. If you have a dispute and have an attorney on retainer, your competition would be unable to hire that lawyer.

If you do hire an attorney on retainer, payment can be handled in a couple different ways. You may be asked to prepay part of the legal fees, in which case your payment goes into an escrow account and the attorney receives payment as the work is done. Once the account is empty, you’ll be asked to make another payment or start paying on a monthly basis. In the more traditional arrangement, you pay a monthly retainer to the attorney who is paid from that fee as your legal issues are addressed.

If you have a situation that requires legal advice on either a temporary or ongoing basis, speak to an attorney today.