A retainer fee is paid when a client chooses to hire a lawyer for their continued services during a family law matter. It is advance payment that a client makes to his or her lawyer before the lawyer begins working on the case. It is similar to a down payment and allows the lawyer to draw funds for various fees as the case proceeds. The money from a retainer fee is placed in an account, separate from the lawyer’s personal funds. A client may choose to pay using a retainer fee in order to demonstrate that they are serious about their case and wish to retain the lawyer’s services.
A flat fee is paid when a client chooses to hire a lawyer for a single service or task. The lawyer is not “retained” by the client. Therefore, once the single task or matter is complete, the lawyer and client relationship ends. Flat fees are offered in certain circumstances on a case by case basis and can only be determined after a consultation is had with the lawyer.
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