What Does Lawyer On Retainer Mean

Having a lawyer on retainer means paying a regular fee to keep them available for legal services when needed.

It’s common for businesses with recurring legal needs or individuals with high net worth.

Lawyer on retainer
Lawyer on retainer: Photo source (FindLaw)

What To Consider Before Hiring an Attorney on Retainer

If having a lawyer on call sounds appealing, stop and think about your legal situation first.

Retaining an attorney might be a smart decision, or it could be a waste of money.

Ask yourself:

  • What will you use the attorney for? Unless a major accident happens, most people only need an attorney once every few years. If this is true for you, having an attorney on retainer may not be a financially sound decision.
  • Check your insurance policies. Most insurance policies, including auto and homeowner’s insurance, will pay for an attorney should you be involved in an accident. If this is so, there is no need to pay an attorney as additional insurance against these lawsuits.
  • Check your employee benefits. If you are an employee of a large company or a member of a union, a lawyer on call may be part of your benefits. These attorneys can handle most routine legal matters, such as wills and real estate transactions, as well as certain lawsuits. Paying another lawyer on retainer when you already have one through your employer usually does not make financial sense.

Retainer” and “retainer agreement” are different. Retaining” a lawyer means hiring them, and the payment is called “the retainer.

The agreement is the “retainer agreement.

Have a Clear Representation Agreement

When hiring a retainer attorney, a written agreement is crucial.

It outlines the matters they handle, payment details, and services.

This protects you and clarifies what you’re paying for.