Retainer Agreement Photo

What is a Retainer Agreement?

Whenever you hire a lawyer, you will likely be asked to sign a retainer agreement. A retainer agreement is a contract between the client and law firm that tells you that the law firm will represent the client in pursuing a particular legal issue and how the client will pay a legal fee to the law firm for that service. Generally speaking, there are three types of contracts for fees:

  1. Hourly Rate Retainer Agreements;
  2. Flat Fee Retainer Agreements;
  3. and Contingency Fee Retainer Agreements.

Hourly Rate Retainer Agreements

Under an hourly rate agreement your lawyer will bill for the amount of time spent working for you. The number of hours a lawyer spends in pursuing a resolution to a legal issue is multiplied by an hourly rate to arrive at the legal fee. Hourly rates vary depending on the type of legal matter and the skill level of the lawyer you hire.

Flat Fee Retainer Agreements

A flat fee agreement sets out a fixed legal fee no matter how many (or how few) hours are expended in pursuing a resolution to a legal issue.

Contingency Fee Retainer Agreements

Under a contingency fee agreement the lawyer acts for a client in return for a percentage of a lump sum settlement or trial award. If no money is recovered, there is no legal fee to pay.

Always talk fees with your lawyer at the FIRST meeting. You should always make sure a fee agreement is made in writing so no dispute arises later.

 

 

Negotiating Insurance Claims

Negotiation of Disability Claims

Negotiation involves reaching an agreement with the other side. The idea is that the agreement meets the best interests of both sides. Of course, this usually means that both sides have to make compromises. You won’t get everything you want and neither will the other side.

Know Your Bottom Line

Before you begin negotiating, figure out what your bottom line will be. That is the least you will accept in exchange for resolving the legal dispute. Never reveal your bottom line at any stage of the negotiations.

Begin your negotiations by asking for everything to which you believe you are legally entitled.

Present as many negotiable issues as you can and do not reveal their level of importance to you. That way, you can “give up” on an issue that was never really important to you to begin with. The other side will see this as a compromise and will be more willing to compromise in return.

Negotiating Without a Lawyer

If you are negotiating a legal problem without a lawyer, you should both sign an agreement first that says your negotiations are WITHOUT PREJUDICE. That means that whatever you say or write down in the process of negotiations won’t be used by either side if the matter ends up going to court.

If the negotiations fail, there are alternatives available to you other than court.

Mediation Chairs

Mediation of Insurance Denial Claims

Mediation is a voluntary process, to which both parties agree. A mediator is appointed to hear the claim. The mediator is a neutral person assigned to help the two sides reach a solution that works for both. Usually a mediation takes place in a boardroom at a neutral location. The setting is usually casual in order to relax both sides to allow for easier communication.

A mediation is conducted on a “without prejudice’ basis. This means that whatever is said at the mediation cannot be used against you if the matter were to proceed to trial. This rule encourages both parties to speak more freely.

The mediator will manage both parties to ensure that each has an opportunity to speak and listen to all the issues. The mediator may help clarify misunderstandings and make discussion of the issues less stressful.

The mediator does not “decide” or “rule” on any issues and cannot force a settlement.

Mediation only works if both parties are willing to resolve their dispute.

If one party refuses to compromise and refuses to listen then the mediation will fail.