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Retainer Agreements

One More Reason to Flat Fee: Getting Paid

October 16, 2014 by Carolyn Elefant

A recent decision by a New York court, rejecting a law firm’s breach of contract claim to recover $2.3 million in legal fees from a client highlights both the importance of a detailed written representation agreement and yet another reason to consider adopting flat fees. According to the New York Law Journal, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres […]

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Don’t Depend on Your Malpractice Insurer for a First Rate Engagement Agreement

April 11, 2014 by Carolyn Elefant

In the past, I’ve griped about the circa 1970s bar association retainer agreements that abound on the Internet. In fact, that’s one of the peeves that spurred me to put together my ebook, The Art, Science and Ethics of the 21st Century Retainer Agreement . Still, bar associations are perpetually underfunded, so I’m willing to […]

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The Dangers of the 19th Century Retainer Agreement

February 4, 2013 by Carolyn Elefant

OK, maybe this Engagement Agreement sample, extracted from a Start Up Law Firm Toolkit published by Lawyers Mutual North Carolina isn’t as outdated as the Pony Express.  Still, the engagement letter provision below, which seeks express client authorization for use of any modern day method of communication is so antiquated and short-sighted made me seriously […]

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Using Your Retainer Agreement to Generate Positive & Deter Negative Client Reviews

September 3, 2012 by Carolyn Elefant

Increasingly, consumers are exploring client reviews on sites like Avvo  as part of the process of hiring a lawyer.  Though it’s hardly scientific evidence, over the past few weeks alone, I’ve heard several examples of lawyers who attracted fairly decent cases as a result of their presence on Avvo or Yelp and the positive feedback […]

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The Art, Science & Ethics of the 21st Century Retainer Agreement

June 6, 2012 by Carolyn Elefant

The legal profession is transitioning to what’s been branded the new normal, but the development of the necessary tools for serving 21st Century clients is lagging far behind.  Sure, the infrastructure that we use to serve clients is changing; lawyers are finally coming up to speed on Cloud Computing, transitioning from desktops to more mobile […]

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What Does Your Retainer Agreement Say About You?

April 19, 2012 by Carolyn Elefant

I am still working my way through my review copy of Stephanie Kimbro’s new book, reviewed here by Richard Granat. There’s just too much information to breeze through and unlike many bloggers (not Richard, but others), I actually make a point of reading the books that I review. Still, one of the most useful parts […]

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To Refer For A Fee or Refrain? That Is the Question For Solo Lawyers

June 1, 2011 by Carolyn Elefant

Should solo and small firm lawyers refer cases for a fee…or refrain?  It’s question largely unique to solos.  After all, when lawyers at a firm bring in business that is assigned to or handled by others, they typically receive an origination fee and may continue to collect a percentage of revenue subsequently generated by that […]

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What If Your Retainer Agreement Could Look Like This?

August 18, 2010 by Carolyn Elefant

Credit Card Agreement After reading this post at the Public Citizens Law & Policy Blog (H/T Legal Blogwatch) about simplicity guru Alan Siegel’s efforts to cleanse the gobbledygook from consumer agreements, my first thought was that if Siegel succeeds, then Minneapolis, Minnesota solo lawyer and bloggerGraham Martinwill have to find another topic to replace his […]

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Greatest American Lawyer’s Rejoinder to the Well Drafted Retainer

July 29, 2008 by Carolyn Elefant

In a response to my earlier post, The Well Drafted Retainer, my blogging colleague Enricho Schaefer ponders whether the traditional retainer is outdated.  Schafer argues that the complexity of retainer agreements complicates relationships with clients rather than facilitating them.  Schaefer explains that his firm memorializes the attorney-client agreement with an email listing the tasks to […]

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The Well Drafted Retainer Agreement – A Sample and A Challenge

July 13, 2008 by Carolyn Elefant

As I’ve written in Solo by Choice and discussed at my blog, a well drafted, ethically compliant retainer agreement is a lawyer’s most important tool in guarding against grievances, setting client expectations and generally, helping to create a profitable pratice.   Without a retainer, some bars won’t even let you collect your fee.  And if your […]

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