A legal retainer agreement is a work for hire contract for legal services by a lawyer/attorney. 


A retainer fee is a down payment that is to be applied toward the total fee billed by the attorney/advocate.

A retainer can be a recurring monthly payment or a single advance payment for the rendering of legal services. The fee can be paid on a pre-negotiated, fixed rate or on a variable hourly rate

Cost of services are usually deducted from the retainer during the course of legal representation.

A retainer fee has the purpose of ensuring payment for future legal services or work to be rendered by the hired counsel or advocate. The retainer fee is to be refunded if the work is not performed, unless an agreement to the contrary is made.



Effective Date ____/____/______

This agreement for legal services and representation is entered into by and between __________________________________ (The ATTORNEY) of _________________________________ (Legal Firm) Located at ______________________________________________________ (Address, City, State, Zip Code)


____________________________________ (The CLIENT) of ___________________________________ (Company Name) Located at ______________________________________________________ (Address, City, State, Zip Code)

The Client hereby retains and employs The Attorney for the performance of the following Legal Services.

Description of Services: (prosecute or adjust a claim, divorce services, immigration services, criminal defense, etc...)




Retainer Fee

Client shall pay Attorney a retainer fee of $ _________ Dollars that will be applied against Attorney’s fee and any and all expenses incurred by the client or paid by the attorney on behalf of the client.

Monthly Retainer Fee

Legal services rendered by the Attorney shall be billed at $______ Dollars per hour. 

Legal services rendered by an Associate Attorney shall be billed at $______ Dollars per hour. 

Legal services rendered by a Paralegal shall be billed at $______ Dollars per hour. 

In consideration for the above mentioned retainer payment The Attorney agrees to perform to the best of his/her ability with due diligence in the execution of the agreed legal services and take reasonable steps to respond to all Client's inquiries and to keep Client informed of progress of the case.

All of, but not limited to, the following services shall be excluded by the Attorney under this agreement. Attorney will not perform legal services pertaining to: 



Client agrees to pay Attorney's bills on time, provide true information and documentation necessary for the representation and keep Attorney informed of his/her whereabouts and any developments which may come to Client's attention. 

This Retainer Agreement will take effect as soon as the Client returns a signed copy of this Agreement. Only then legal service will be provided accordingly, until the case reaches its conclusion.

Client may, at any time, discharge the services of the attorney for any reason by written notice which will become effective upon receipt by Attorney. Client shall remain obligated to pay all attorney’s fees and expense costs owned to Attorney until the time of termination of the contract.

Applicable Law

This agreement shall be governed by the laws of the State of __________ in __________ County and any Federal Law that may apply. 

_______________________________________________ Date ____/____/____

Signature of The CLIENT 

_______________________________________________ Date ____/____/____

Signature of The ATTORNEY 

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DISCLAIMER: The law will vary depending on your state and the specifics of your case. The information provided by is intended for educational purposes only. All the content on this website should NOT be considered professional legal advice or a substitute for professional legal advice. For such services, we recommend getting a free initial consultation by a licensed Attorney in your State.

Retainer Agreement Sample
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