Legal Question in Mediation in Colorado

I agreed to pay my representative $5,000 as an engagement retainer which was paid by me in exchange for his service. If the case had exceeded 16.7 hours of work, I would've had to pay an attorney's fee of $300 per hour and a paralegal fee of $100 per hour in excess of the engagement retainer.

I have two questions. First, do I receive a refund if he did under 16.7 hours of work on my case? Second, do I suppose to receive a billing statement telling me how many hours he worked on my case and what he did on my case?

Note: Lawyer did help me reach settlement with the defendant but he didn't do 16.7 hours of work.

Asked on 7/10/10, 7:56 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Robert Murillo Pivotal Legal Ltd.

In Colorado, engagement retainers are allowed in certain limited circumstances. To know if your fee agreement is an allowable engagement retainer requires more facts and review of the agreement. As a general rule, unless the fee agreement states that a fee is an engagement retainer and explicitly explains how the fee is earned upon receipt, the law presumes that any advance fee is actually a deposit which must be earned. Given your limited facts, there may be an issue with this agreement and the attorney may be required to provide how the fee was earned and otherwise accounted for.

You should speak with an attorney to review the agreement and additional facts.

DISCLAIMER—This answer is for informational purposes only and discusses general legal principles, trends, and considerations and is not intended as specific legal advice regarding your question. This answer does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

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Answered on 7/14/10, 5:05 am

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