A retainer agreement sets forth the scope of what the lawyer will do for the client and to what extent the client will pay for those services. For hourly fee cases, a retainer is the initial payment to a lawyer to secure the lawyer’s services.
A retainer agreement for a contingency case sets forth the percentage of recovery the lawyer will receive. Also, whether costs will be paid by only the client or by both the lawyer and client.
There are other common provisions in retainer agreements some of which are mandated by law. Be sure to ask the lawyer to explain anything about which you are unsure.