As a New York-based attorney, it is important to have a retainer agreement with your clients. This agreement sets out the terms of your engagement, including the scope of your services, your fees, and the client`s obligations. In this article, we will discuss the key features of a New York attorney retainer agreement and why it is essential to have one.
Scope of Services
The retainer agreement should clearly define the scope of your services as an attorney. This should include the legal matter you will be handling, the steps that will be taken throughout the process, and any necessary timelines for actions or responses. By outlining these details, you can ensure that you and your client are on the same page in terms of expectations and obligations.
Fees and Billing
Your retainer agreement should also outline your fees and billing practices. This includes your hourly rate, how you bill for your time, and any additional expenses that may be incurred during the course of representation (such as filing fees or expert witness fees). It is also important to specify how payments will be made, whether through a retainer or on an ongoing basis.
Confidentiality and Privilege
As an attorney, you have a duty to maintain confidentiality and attorney-client privilege. Your retainer agreement should include provisions that outline your obligation to keep client information confidential and the exceptions to this rule.
The retainer agreement should also specify who has access to the information and documents related to the client`s matter. This includes any third-party service providers that may be engaged (such as a court reporter or process server).
It is important to include a provision in the retainer agreement that outlines the circumstances under which either party can terminate the agreement. This includes situations where the client decides to end the representation or where you, as the attorney, need to withdraw from the matter. The agreement should also detail the process for disengagement, including any necessary steps to be taken.
In summary, a New York attorney retainer agreement is a critical document for both attorneys and clients. It outlines the terms of the legal representation and ensures that both parties are aware of their obligations and responsibilities throughout the process. By including the key features discussed above, you can create a comprehensive agreement that protects both your interests and those of your clients. As a professional, I urge all attorneys to ensure that their retainer agreements are in compliance with the rules of professional conduct and serve the best interests of the client.