What is a Retainer? - As commonly used, a Retainer is the prepayment of fees.  A general retainer secures a lawyer's legal services for any purpose that may arise in your personal or business life.  A special retainer hires an attorney for a specific case or project.

A Retainer is not a flat-fee.  If for some reason a client discharges an attorney, or an attorney withdraws from a representation, only that portion of the Retainer which has been "earned" by providing the client with legal services may be kept.  The remainder must be returned to the client.  Similarly, if the Retainer has been expended before the project is completed, then additional payments must be made by the client to the lawyer.

I require a security deposit. To avoid confusion, I use terms with which clients are typically more familiar.  As a condition of doing business with me, I insist on the delivery of funds to me which are placed in a Trust account.  That money then acts as security for the payment of a client's expenses and my fees.  Typically, I send monthly invoices showing the fees earned and other charges against the client's account.  The client is then obligated to pay the full invoice amount.  When the case is ended, if the final invoice is less than the security deposit, remaining funds are returned.

Security deposits do not earn interest for the client. I do not keep any interest.  Only in the rarest circumstances will a client's trust deposit earn interest for the client.  Most funds are deposited into an account where earned interest is paid to the Missouri Bar for various public programs.  However, I offer a better rate of return than any bank by offering a prompt payment incentive that reduces a monthly invoice by 10% when a client pays (reimburses the security deposit) within ten days.

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