Friday, March 18, 2005

What is a Retainer versus a Fee Advance?

Answer: Retainers and fee advances are often confused and often are mistakenly used interchangeably. Technically, they are different and serve slightly different purposes. Retainers are amounts given to a lawyer to keep that lawyer on a client's payroll for a set period of time. For example, a client could give a lawyer $5000 per month to maintain that lawyer as the client's representative. The retainer, therefore, is kept by the lawyer regardless of whether there is work done. The client may receive a bill for services over and above the $5000, depending on the fee arrangement.

A fee advance, on the other hand, is simply an amount given to a lawyer to pay for some or all of the lawyer's anticipated fees for future work. Thus, if a lawyer works at $200 per hour and he receives a $5000 fee advance, the fee advance would cover 25 hours of the lawyer's time. Keep in mind that the general movement these days is for any amounts that are not actually earned to be refunded to the client. In other words, if a client provides a fee advance of $5000 but the client's case only takes 20 hours to completely finish, the client may be entitled to a refund of $1000. Of course, there may be costs associated with a client's case that might be paid from the fee advance, such as filing and subpoena fees, deposition costs, service of process, etc. and these would affect the total amount the client owes the attorney and vice versa.

Wilcox & Wilcox, P.C.
Trent Wilcox
For the Firm

Phoenix office:
3030 N. Central Ave., Ste. 705
Phoenix, Arizona 85012
Ph: 602-631-9555
Fx: 602-631-4004

Goodyear office:
1616 N. Litchfield Rd., Ste. 240
Goodyear, Arizona 85338
Ph: 623-344-7880
Fx: 602-631-4004

Visit our website:

Disclaimer: Providing the above information does not establish an
attorney-client relationship. To create such a relationship, both the
attorney and potential client must sign a written fee agreement. The
information contained herein is meant only as general information and is not meant to be relied upon for the purpose of taking legal action. You should contact an attorney in person for further and specific information. Wilcox & Wilcox, P.C. attorneys are licensed in Arizona only except for personal injury attorney Robert N. Edwards, who is licensed in Arizona and Minnesota.

Blog Search Engine -Search Engine and Directory of blogs. Looking for blogs? Find them on
Web Blog Pinging Service
 Blog Top Sites