If you have ever needed specialized services or a lawyer, you’ve likely paid a retainer fee. What does that mean? And how much is it?
Some lawyers choose to charge for every interaction they have. Others are quiet about their costs until they hand you the bill. Before you panic, know that these fees are common throughout many industries. They stand to protect the professional against lost wages from unreliable clients.
Blackman Bail Bonds provides 24-hour service throughout Pennsylvania, and we hear many questions. Use this helpful post to learn more about retainer fees, and why you need them.
What is a Retainer Fee, and Why am I Paying it?
First, a retainer fee is an amount charged upfront by a professional, in this case, a lawyer. They often make this price themselves, with no real basis. Your retainer fee is paid upfront, and it often won’t cover the total amount. However, it does allow your lawyer to feel confident enough to represent you.
A generous attorney may keep their retainer fee low at a few hundred dollars. Others could add many more zeros to the end of your invoice. In short, their fee acts as a down payment towards the final verdict. It is there to protect lawyers from clients avoiding their bills, so they still get paid for their time.
Why is My Retainer Fee So Expensive?
You haven’t even discussed the case, and they already want a check. When should you feel concerned over expensive retainer fees?
For starters, what might seem high to you may feel standard to them. Research the going rate in your area, and then negotiate accordingly, if possible. Higher fees could mean they anticipate staying busy with tasks that aren’t always billable. Some may have found themselves losing out on tons of invoices that were unpaid. As a business owner, they do what they can to protect themselves from working for free. Keep in mind that their time is valuable, and they’re there helping you prepare a defense.
Will They Take My Money and Run?
Once you’ve paid a large sum of cash, it’s hard not to worry about it. A common fear is that a lawyer will split after receiving their retainer fee. Thankfully, it is only a fraction of what they stand to make overall. It would not only seem unwise, but not beneficial for them to burn you.
Where does my payment go? Your payment goes directly into a professional trust account, where it stays until after the trial. Your lawyer won’t collect the cash until after they have finished their job with you. You should, however, review any receipts or invoices for charges you weren’t expecting. Your legal professional should explain each cost clearly before handing you the bill.
Why Am I Paying Again After the Retainer Fee?
As we briefly mentioned, your retainer fee is a down payment, not the total. As a result, they put that amount towards upfront expenses to avoid overspending. That can mean that, weeks later, they tell you the money is nearly gone. Without paying another retainer, they may not finish out your case.
In the end, paying several smaller retainers is more beneficial than one larger amount. Spending a few hundred here and there is easier than several thousand months later. When in doubt, compare monthly statements to the retainer fees being paid. If something seems off, ask immediately rather than bringing it up later.
Do Bail Bond Agents Have Retainers?
Other professionals who may charge retainers are doctors, specialty contractors, and consultants. Occupations requiring tons of research and fieldwork usually request them.
Unlike hiring lawyers, bail bond services don’t often use retainers. The amount you pay is a percentage of the total release cost. Our agents cover the upfront costs, and you pay it back as a loan. The payments are then made after the trial ends, even if innocent.
You can reach us throughout Pennsylvania, 24-hours a day. Contact Blackman Bail Bonds for service.