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What Is a Retainer and How Much Is It?

All lawyers require (or should require) a "deposit" or a retainer. This assures the attorney that they are going to be paid for the work they do. A retainer is a deposit against the work that needs to be done to get the case started and moving towards resolution. If you weren't sure if you were going to get paid for your work, would you work for free? Most people will not, and that includes attorneys.

Retainer Deposits vary depending on the type of case. It is the minimum amount we are willing to accept to get the case started, get to work, make a plan and set aside the time to work on the case.

There are many factors that go into determining the retainer deposit, the complexity of the case, how much time it may take to handle the matter through completion or some other stage, if the case is already in progress or new, the identity of the other attorney, the attitude of the other spouse, whether the client has a history of hiring and firing prior attorneys, and the lawyer's perception of how cooperative or conflicted a potential client may seem.

The average retainer deposit for a non-complicated dissolution tends to be approximately $3,500. For very simple cases, the minimum retainer deposit tends to be about $2,500. For modifications or limited appearance cases, the amount can be less.

Some attorneys set their retainer deposits very high, $15,000 or more. There may be a few cases that call for those kind of retainer deposits but usually it's a sales tactic and not reasonable for the average dissolution.

Categories: Retainer
The Law Office of Stephanie J. Squires & Associates, APLC 909-907-8783

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