Can I Reclaim a Retainer Fee?

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

‘How do I get a retainer fee back when I no longer need an attorney’s services?’If in fact you are confident that you have retainer funds left (i.e. all work completed has already been billed against the retainer, etc.) and you have requested that the remaining funds be returned and they have not, your next step should be to contact your state’s bar association to find out what your rights are with respect to the retainer funds. Then contact the attorney and advise them that if they do not return your retainer funds within the specified period of time, you will report them to the bar association.

Question: In most states, retainer funds are required to be kept in a separate trust account, and to not be withdrawn until earned. Violation of this requirement is considered to be very serious by most state bar associations.