In most situations Joe Welch requires a $2,000 retainer in order to represent someone, and then charges at his hourly rate of $300 an hour for working on their case. The retainer is the amount paid in order for him to be someone’s lawyer at all and not necessarily for the actual legal work on the case. Once a lawyer agrees to take on a client the lawyer has forever lost an unforeseeable number of business opportunities because the lawyer has to remain loyal to the client and very likely no longer has the opportunity to represent adverse parties, co-defendants, or witnesses against the client. For example, if a lawyer represents a person in a divorce that lawyer should not represent that person’s spouse in a different case – this is an opportunity the lawyer has lost by agreeing to take on the client, even before any work is done on the client’s cases. This $2,000 retainer is not an advance fee or deposit that the hourly charges will be deducted from. Once you pay the retainer Joe Welch is your private attorney and you are one of his private clients, but you have not paid for any actual work on any particular case yet.
Paying a retainer is somewhat like buying a new cell phone – once you buy the phone the phone is yours, but you also have to pay fees for the calls you make. You pay a retainer for a lawyer to be your lawyer – the lawyer is “on retainer” to try to be available to respond to your issues, but you also have to pay for the work the lawyer does on those issues. And paying a retainer doesn’t entitle you to have the attorney work on or take any case you please – you might buy a cell phone that operates on one carrier’s network but not be able to have it work on another carrier’s network, and you might have a lawyer on retainer who only takes cases in one particular state or cases of one particular type for a number of different reasons. If you happen to use a cell phone to commit a crime the government might seize it and you might no longer be able to use it anymore, and probably won’t be able to get a refund from the store you purchased it from. In a similar manner if you try to get your attorney to do something illegal or unethical or something that is an affront to an attorney’s better judgment and beliefs the attorney may decide that they cannot work with you any more, and you will not get a refund for your retainer.
Paying Retainer Online
As soon as you pay your retainer via Square both you and Joe Welch will get an email notification that the payment was successful.
Advance Fees and Deposits
In most cases Joe Welch doesn’t require a cost deposit up front and instead will send you bills at his $300 an hour rate which you must promptly pay. But in some circumstances, like more complex or serious cases, you will be asked to pay an upfront deposit towards attorney fees. If you are to pay this cost deposit for hourly work that hasn’t been performed yet, or if you are paying a deposit for expenses such as transcripts or expert witness fees or court costs that the attorney has not yet actually paid, then these funds must be held in the attorney’s trust account. These upfront deposits are advance fees – attorney fees paid in advance before the attorney does the work. This is different than the retainer you pay to hire the attorney.
Advance payments or deposits such as these can only be made online through a specific processor, and the attorney will send you a payment invoice and link specific for trust deposits. In some circumstances trust deposits can be made in person by check or cash.
Do not mail payments unless the attorney specifically instructs you to. Payments should be made as directed online or in-person.
By hiring Joseph Welch on a case you’re agreeing to the following, please make sure you understand the difference between a retainer and an advance fee:
I herewith employ Joseph Welch to represent me only in the specific situation as we have discussed. I understand that he will represent me and will diligently prosecute or defend my rights to the best of his ability until the representation ends. I agree that he may withdraw as my attorney at any time after reasonable notice to me and I agree to keep him advised of my whereabouts at all times and to cooperate at all times in the preparation of the prosecution or defense of my case, to appear upon reasonable notice for court appearances and to comply with all reasonable requests made to me in connection with the preparation and the presentation of my case.
In the event of my failure to keep all attorneys fees and costs current with the attorney, I acknowledge that the attorney may withdraw from my case and terminate representation. I understand that the attorney may assign parts of my case to other attorneys and split attorney fees with them.
I understand that in some cases I have a right to a trial by jury and if I choose to exercise my right to a trial before a judge or jury I will incur additional attorney fees for the trial and trial preparation. I also understand that this contract does not include representation during appeals either during or after trial or other post-trial actions unless explicitly stated.
I understand that while the attorney accepts this case and promises to render professional legal services to the best of his ability during this employment, the attorney makes NO WARRANTIES, REPRESENTATIONS, OR GUARANTEES regarding the favorable outcome of the case whether by settlement, plea, dismissal, trial, or appeal. I agree to cooperate fully with the attorney and not to do anything which would compromise the attorney’s professional ethics or responsibilities.
I understand that I am paying a non-refundable retainer and not an advance fee – this retainer is to ensure my attorney’s availability to handle my case, and I understand that by accepting my case, the attorney is precluded from taking other opportunities. In addition to not being able to take as many other cases when taking my case because of the time engaged in representing me, I understand that my attorney is temporarily, and in some cases permanently prohibited from taking on a large but indefinite constellation of other cases, including but not limited to people who may be victims, witnesses, opposing parties, or co-plaintiffs/defendants in my case because of waivable or unwaivable conflicts of interest. I understand that just by taking on my case my attorney is permanently losing other business, and that this is one of the reasons that the retainer amount I am paying is considered fully earned and non-refundable. It is not an “advanced fee” for future work to be done on my case; it is the fee that I am paying to have the attorney available work on my case at all, because simply starting the case is what precludes the attorney from pursuing these other potential cases. For example, if the attorney represents me in a divorce, then the attorney is likely permanently prohibited from representing my spouse in any type of case. Every case an attorney accepts permanently reduces the pool of potential clients that attorney may accept in the future. Therefore, this retainer will not be held in a trust account and billed against; instead it will be deposited directly into the attorney’s general operating account as soon as it is paid. I will then be billed at the attorney’s hourly rate of $300.00 (three hundred dollars) per hour for time spent on my case, billed in 1/10th of an hour increments. I am also responsible for all expenses related to my case, including but not limited to fines, court costs, deposition fees, etc.