Limited Representation & Retainer Policies
(Any questions or comments regarding these terms or fees should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org)
When I first opened my solo real estate practice in 2010, in addition to providing first class legal services to my existing clients, I decided to make myself available to prospective clients who only needed help on small or limited duration projects, such as transactional assistance, document drafting, document review, or just an hour’s consultation. What follows are my limited representation and retainer policies, as of May, 2015.
Limited Representation Policy. No client has any commitment to me beyond the immediate project at hand, and likewise, I have no commitment to continuing representation following the conclusion of the project for which I was initially engaged. This is what I call “limited representation,” and it commences when legal representation officially begins, and ends with the conclusion of the project, or termination of the attorney-client relationship, if earlier. Upon completion of the project, the attorney-client relationship automatically concludes. I do not send out a “file-closing letter” saying this – this policy you are now reading speaks for itself. Following the conclusion of the matter or project, I will have no duty to provide continuing representation on any other matter, including the previous matter for which my duty of representation ended. If you are in doubt as to whether the project is completed, you should contact me to discuss the matter.
Retainer Policy. I require the payment of a retainer in advance for all new clients until they become continuing clients. And I reserve the right, in my sole judgment, to say when a client has become a “continuing client” such that I will not ask for a retainer paid in advance. While we may preliminarily discuss the nature of your issue and the scope of work, unless I state otherwise in writing, no attorney-client relationship shall commence, and no work shall be performed, until payment of the agreed-upon retainer has been confirmed.
Accordingly, in the case of all new clients, and those with whom I have only occasional contact, I will ask for a retainer. I will determine the amount of the retainer, based upon my best estimate of what I believe the scope of work entails. Please understand that the calculation of any retainer is based not only upon the time to produce a product, e.g. a contract, but also the time I expect to consume in client-requested changes, questions, and explanations that invariably follow.
The retainer is an estimate only; it is not a fixed fee or bid. If the retainer is consumed and the project not yet complete, I reserve the right to request payment of an additional retainer. If you are not prepared to pay an advance retainer, I cannot represent you.
I encourage clients to use a credit card to make their retainer deposit via my online trust account; it is the quickest payment method, and allows me to commence work sooner. The retainer deposited into this account is not withdrawn until earned. In the event the project or matter is terminated early for any reason, or upon its completion, any unearned deposit is returned. You should expect to receive a monthly accounting of my time spent on your behalf, fees earned, costs advanced, and the balance remaining in trust, if any. If a balance remains due after application of the balance of the retainer, it will appear on your invoice.
In the event a client fails or refuses to pay a retainer or outstanding bill for my legal services, subject only to Oregon State Bar rules, I reserve the right to immediately cease all work, and withdraw from representation.
Clients are entitled to terminate the attorney-client relationship at any time, for any reason or no reason – as am I. Any unearned retainer held on deposit will be refunded.
 For continuing clients with large projects, litigation, arbitration, complex matters or expert opinions, I will also ask for the payment of an advance retainer.