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The Pros and Cons of Having a Lawyer on Retainer

by Business Highers
lawyer on retainer

Did you know that there are a few different ways in which you can pay a lawyer? For example, you can pay them an hourly fee, a flat fee, or even a contingency fee.

But you’ll also have the option to hire a lawyer on retainer. In this case, you’ll pay a lawyer a set fee in advance so that you can get access to them for a specific period of time.

In many cases, it’ll make a lot of sense to hire a lawyer on retainer when you’re hiring, say, a business lawyer. It’ll make it feel like your company has an in-house lawyer when you do this since you’ll always have a business law expert to turn to for assistance.

Before you hire a lawyer on retainer, though, there are some pros and cons of this type of arrangement that should be on your radar. Check out the advantages and disadvantages of having a law firm on retainer below.

Pro: Enables You to Contact a Lawyer Whenever You Want

When you have a lawyer on retainer, you aren’t going to have to set out to search for a lawyer every time you need one. If you have a legal issue come up, all you’ll need to do is reach out to the lawyer that you have on retainer for help.

You’ll come to appreciate how easy it’ll be to get legal assistance at a moment’s notice. It’ll begin to feel like you have an in-house lawyer working right on your staff at times.

Con: Forces You to Make a Large Lump Sum Payment

When you pay a lawyer under normal circumstances, you won’t have to worry about paying them until after you’ve finished working with them. You can ensure that they do a great job for you prior to cutting them a check.

But when you have a lawyer on retainer, you’re going to need to pay them a large lump sum at the start and have them deduct their various fees from it. Not everyone is going to be able to make a big lump sum payment like this.

Pro: Helps You Stick to a Budget While Working With a Lawyer

While making a large lump sum payment to a lawyer won’t be ideal for everyone, you may come to appreciate the fact that it’ll make it easier for you to stick to a budget. You’ll hand over this lump sum and be done with it from the beginning.

When you don’t pay a lawyer until the end of the case that you hire them to work on, you might experience sticker shock when everything is all said and done. Unless you’re diligent about keeping tabs on the fees they’re charging you, you might find that it’ll be difficult to stick to a predetermined budget while working with them.

Con: Subjects You to Extra Fees and Expenses

There are some people who will make the mistake of hiring a lawyer on retainer without making a retainer payment upfront. This will sometimes put them into a tough financial spot down the line.

When you don’t pay a retainer to a lawyer right away, they’re often going to charge you extra fees. They might even charge you interest on the money that you owe them until you get things squared away.

You aren’t going to have to be concerned about facing these kinds of extra fees and expenses when you wait until the end of the process to pay a lawyer.

Pro: Saves You Time When It Comes to Finding a Lawyer

Do you want to have to scramble to find a lawyer every single time you need one? This can turn into a big issue if you’re not careful.

When you have a lawyer on retainer, you won’t have to worry about trying to track down a lawyer that you like when you need one. Your lawyer will always be just one phone call away.

Over time, you’ll be able to build a relationship with this lawyer and feel very comfortable calling on them for any help you need.

Con: Locks You Into Working With One Specific Lawyer

Not everyone likes the idea of being locked into working with just one lawyer all the time. They would rather pick and choose lawyers when they need them based on how they think lawyers will be able to help them.

If you’d prefer to take this approach to things, you might not like the idea of hiring a lawyer on retainer. Instead, you might want to find a great legal staffing agency that can set you up with lawyers as necessary.

An agency like this will be able to take care of any legal troubles you have by hooking you up with the right lawyers. It would be worth at least considering bringing a temporary legal staffing agency on board to assist you with your legal needs.

Is Hiring a Lawyer on Retainer Right for You?

Now that you know about the pros and cons of hiring a lawyer on retainer, you should give some thought to whether it would be the right move for you to make.

Some people like knowing that they’ll always have a lawyer around when they hire one on retainer. But others would prefer to not have to worry about spending a small fortune to keep a lawyer on retainer.

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