When to Put a Corporate Lawyer on Retainer

Corporate lawyers may be used for a wide range of business purposes. They most commonly may be used to draft legal documents and to review documents before you sign them. Legal services may also be used if you are a party in a lawsuit, and lawyers can negotiate outside of the courtroom as well as represent you in the court room. These are only a few of the ways a corporate lawyer can help you over the years, and some lawyers specialize in different areas of corporate law to provide you with the benefit of more pronounced expertise in a specific area. Some businesses pay for legal fees on an as-needed basis, and others hire an in-house legal team. Still others pay for legal services on retainer, and you may be wondering when it is appropriate and beneficial to hire an attorney on retainer.

What Is a Retainer?
Before you make the decision to hire an attorney on retainer, it is important to understand what a retainer is. A retainer is an agreement with a specific lawyer or a full firm that requires you to pay a regular fee to the attorney’s office. In exchange for this, you have a lawyer or legal team at your disposal to assist with all legal matters. You may still have to pay a small fee for the use of their services, but this fee may be reduced in comparison to the attorney’s normal hourly rate. A retainer should not be confused with retaining a lawyer for legal services. Retaining a lawyer for legal services means that the attorney has been hired to tackle a specific task, and having an attorney on retainer means that a standing retainer agreement is in place.

When Should You Use a Retainer for Legal Services?
Having an attorney on retainer can be beneficial for some, but it may not be a cost-effective decision for others. Consider your need for legal services as a first step. Do you regularly use legal services to draft documents, review documents and more? Do you have the need for a full-time, in-house attorney? The amount of legal work you have over the course of a week or a month may dictate which legal service situation is best for your needs and your budget.

The decision to hire an attorney on retainer is not a matter to take lightly. If you have decided that this is the right legal setup for your needs, your next task is to find the right attorney or legal firm to hire on retainer. Each office may have a different level of service they provide on retainer, so carefully compare the options. If necessary, negotiate the cost of legal services as well as the services rendered through the retainer so that your business benefits from the most attractive terms possible.

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