What is a Retainer Fee?
A retainer fee is an upfront fee that you must pay to hire the specific lawyer. The lawyer then takes this payment and puts it in trust for the client. The lawyer’s hourly rate (i.e. hours worked on the case), court costs, etc. will then be deducted from the retainer amount that you have in trust. Any amount of the retainer that is not used, will be refunded to you at the conclusion of the case or representation.
The biggest hurdle to hiring the lawyer of your choice is often the Retainer Fees. A Retainer Fee is an upfront payment or deposit paid to the lawyer at the time he or she is hired. As a lawyer, we don’t control the cost of cases, believe it or not. Our clients determine the cost based on the level of conflict. That means that the more complicated your case is, the higher your retainer may be. Our retainers are refundable as well so any portion of the retainer that is “unused” is refunded to you at the conclusion of your case.
Amount of the Retainer:
Retainer Fees range from $1,000 to $50,000, depending on the lawyer selected and the complexity of the case. Most retainer amounts will range from $2,500 to $10,000. Note however that, an additional retainer could be required if the first retainer that you paid has been spent. The factors that increase the retainer are: (a) whether there are children involved in the suit; (b) assets involved in a divorce; (c) anticipated level of conflict; (d) the attorney on the other side; (e) Court & County that the case is filed in; and, (f) probability that a client will pay in the future.
- Brian D. Walters – Based in Houston; Board Certified in Family Law; Retainer Required Always; Starting at $15,000 for Divorces w/kids & Starting at $10,000 for all other types of cases; Willing to Travel;
- James “Jake” Gilbreath – Based in Austin; Board Certified in Family Law; Retainer Required Always; Starting at $7,500 for all types of cases; Willing to Travel;
- Nicholas “Nick” Traylor – Based in Houston; Retainer Required Always; Starting at $7,500 for Divorces w/kids & Starting at $5,000 for all other types of cases; Willing to Travel; and
- Robert Tsai – Based in Houston; Retainer Required Always; Starting at $7,500 for Divorces w/kids & Starting at $5,000 for all other types of cases; also Willing to Travel.
Additional Funds: How will you pay for fees that go over the Retainer? There are a variety of methods, but usually it involves getting a bill and being asked to send in a check for more. Sometimes a client is required to keep a certain positive balance, called an “Evergreen Retainer”. Our firm will send the client monthly invoices which provide detail of how time was spent working on the case, the cost for that month, and the amount of funds remaining in that client’s trust.