In almost every Sacramento Family Law firm, attorneys request a legal retainer from a hiring client. A retainer is a sum of funds paid up front (usually in the range of $2,500 – $5,000 but sometimes different amount is requested). The attorney deposits the funds in a special bank account called the attorney/client trust account. The attorney will then perform the requested services in the case and bill from the retainer account based upon the hours (or increments of an hour) of work performed. At the end of the billing period, the attorney will send the client a billing statement itemizing each charge for each task performed, the cost of each task, and the corresponding amount billed from the client’s advance retainer. The billing statement shows the client how the attorney has been working on the client’s case and how much of the retainer remains in the trust account.

If the retainer is depleted before the conclusion of the services the client desires, the client will be required to refill the retainer to continue the working relationship. If the client chooses not to replenish the retainer, the attorney will withdraw from the case. If the client chooses to replenish the retainer, the attorney will continue to provide requested legal services. If the retainer has funds remaining in it at the conclusion of the client’s requested services, the attorney will refund any unused funds to the client. If the retainer is overdrawn at the conclusion of the client’s requested services, the attorney will request payment for the balance due.

Many parties do not understand why attorneys request legal retainers in Sacramento Family Law cases instead of agreeing to pay-as-you-go arrangements. The reason Sacramento Family Law attorneys typically require an advance retainer is to provide security for their professional services. Legal services are so valuable and expensive and it is important that the attorney is compensated for his time and advice. Hiring an attorney with a retainer is a way to demonstrate commitment to the case, and trust in the attorney for his professional advice and experience.

If you are involved in a Sacramento family law case, and you are interested in hiring an attorney, please give us a call. We can help you understand the legal issues in your case and the attorney billing process. Please give our Sacramento family law attorneys a call today for your free half hour consultation.