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Pricing: Costs Of Hiring An Attorney

At DeMatteo Law Firm, we have affordable rates to ensure that people struggling with legal issues can obtain reliable and trustworthy legal representation. We offer every client a FREE 30-minute consultation to discuss what options may be next for your case.

What Is A Retainer Exactly?

So, what is a retainer exactly? A retainer is an upfront amount paid to a law firm to secure the firm’s or a specific attorney’s representation. The retainer remains your money until the attorney works for it and is initially deposited in the law firm’s Trust Account. As the attorney, or paralegal, does work on your case, the attorney keeps track of their time in 1/10 of an hour increments.

An example of this billing practice is this: most emails or text exchanges will be billed as .1; most phone calls are .2 (12 minutes or less), but can obviously be more time consuming depending on the situation. Motion and brief writing vary in length depending on the complexity and/or novelty of the issue(s). Let’s say you pay a retainer of $5,000 for a Class 5 felony case; in the first month, the attorney spends $500 of time on your case with a few phone calls, some discovery review, and a hearing. Your first bill will show that the attorney paid themselves the $500 plus $32.50 tax (6.5% sales tax is paid to the DOR by the business), by taking that amount from the trust account and putting it into an expense or similar account, and your trust account shows you still have $4,467.50 of your trust balance remaining.

A retainer is not necessarily what the case will cost. It’s possible that the attorney may get the case handled for less than your retainer; in that case, you will receive a check back with the unused funds. However, there are many times where the case will eat up the entire retainer and then some – especially if your case is more complicated, has extensive discovery, requires an expert, and/or goes to a jury trial. In that case, you will receive regular monthly bills showing what additional amounts are owed, and you are responsible for keeping your account current.

Any attorney worth their salt understands that, although guarantees are not possible, the best result for their client is one that fits or exceeds the client’s expectations and is done in an efficient manner. In other words, DeMatteo Law Firm will not run up your bill to burn through your retainer if the case can be done for less.

Start with a free consultation to discuss your criminal charges and our defense services. Call DeMatteo Law Firm at 605-607-5171 or contact me online.