How To Get a Lawyer Retainer Fee Refund in a Few Easy Steps
A retainer fee is a prepaid fee used as a guarantee of commitment from professionals, such as lawyers, attorneys, consultants, advisors, and freelancers. It is most familiar in the context of services because you pay it when hiring a lawyer and signing a legally binding contract with them.
The retainer fee doesn’t guarantee a successful outcome. If you are displeased with your provider’s services, you can request a refund for the retainer fee in no time at all with DoNotPay.
What You Need To Know About the Lawyer Retainer Fee Refund
The lawyer retainer fee is a payment that you make to your lawyer or other professional service providers to secure their work for a particular time frame. During this period, the lawyer must be at your disposal for any questions about your claim and legal matters. You can get a refund if you decide to discontinue the relationship with your lawyer, but if they have already done some work, you’ll only get a partial refund.
You can also get a refund if the cost of the service turns out much lower than originally estimated. In that case, you will get refunded the money that the lawyer did not spend.
To get a refund for your lawyer’s retainer fee, you need to know that there are two types of retainer fees:
- Earned retainer fees
- Unearned retainer fees
You also need to know the difference between an operating and a trust account. A general rule among law practitioners is that all companies should have both accounts.
A general operating account contains the money that’s used by the firm, and a trust account keeps the client’s deposits. The firm can withdraw money from the trust account only after they’ve provided the required services to their client.
Earned Retainer Fees
The earned retainer fee is a certain portion of the retainer that your lawyer is entitled to at the beginning of their work. The fee is deposited to the lawyer’s trust fund, and it’s usually billed by the hour for the work done. It can also be distributed for legal tasks, additional materials, and other court fees.
Unearned Retainer Fees
Unearned retainer fees are the initial deposits you make that are held in the legal firm’s trust account before your lawyer does any work. After the lawyer completes their services and the case is finalized, unearned fees get transferred into the operating account.
These fees are refundable if there’s any remaining balance after the lawyer withdraws their fee.
How To Get a Retainer Fee Refund
After your case is completed, the remaining unearned fees will be returned to you. In the event of an accounting error, after-the-fact fee dispute, or early termination of the retainer agreement, you’ll want to request a refund.
When signing a retainer agreement, you have to read it thoroughly because it might state that your retainer is non-refundable if you end the relationship early. The majority of agreements will define what will happen with the unearned fees.
The agreement will also determine what your responsibilities are and what will happen if you break the terms of the contract. There are ethical rules that don’t allow lawyers to terminate their relationship with you if they don’t have a strong cause.
The best way to get a refund is to ask your lawyer directly—you can either send a letter or call them at the office. See if you can set up a meeting to discuss the termination of your agreement and your refund payment. Make sure they give you back all the case files and court documents but keep in mind that they might charge you for them.
If they deny your refund request, you can file a complaint with the Bar Council that your lawyer is a member of.
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How To Get a Retainer Refund With Your Robot Lawyer
If your lawyer decides to ignore you and declines your refund request, you can turn to DoNotPay for help. We can get you a refund from anyone, even companies that don’t give refunds. You have a 98% chance of successfully getting a refund with us by your side. Open our app in any and do the following:
- Log in to your DoNotPay account
- Click on the File a Chargeback option
- Give your bank details and the name of the lawyer to the chatbot
- Follow the chatbot’s instructions
- Verify your request
DoNotPay will build your case and generate a dispute letter. We’ll send the dispute letter to your bank along with your VISA and MasterCard reason codes that are crucial for strengthening your case. If you choose so, DoNotPay will send the dispute letter of refund payment to your lawyer as well. It is advisable that you keep all these documents in case you need to sue your lawyer in small claims court.
Take Your Lawyer to Small Claims Court With the Help of DoNotPay
In case your lawyer has wronged you in any way, you can take them to small claims court. The easiest way to do so is with the assistance of our ABA Brown Award-winning app. We can help you earn up to $25,000, depending on your state.
DoNotPay will prepare you for your day in court by:
- Generating a demand letter you need to send before you file a claim
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- Creating a script that will include all the particulars of your case—damages you seek, what your legal claim is about, and evidence—so that you know exactly what you should say in front of the judge when you go to court
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