What is the difference between refundable versus non-refundable retainer in a criminal matter?
Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney, James Johnson, talks about the difference between refundable and non-refundable retainers in criminal matters.
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Well, in a criminal matter as in civil matters, I mean you often are asked to give a retainer for paying the legal fees and expensive. And in a criminal matter I would absolutely the vast majority are nonrefundable. And it ends up working more like a flat fee then. But I handle matters on a refundable whereby the amount of time that I spend on a case that’s what you’re getting charged. I think that’s what’s most fair to the client. I don’t think charging somebody literally $10,000.00 for one court appearance and two phone calls and a letter is fair. And so the case is dictated, of course, what the client is expecting for results and so forth and you can talk a long time about that, but in the end, refundable it just means, it doesn’t mean the whole thing is refunded from day one it’s just the unused portion of the retainer gets refunded back and it’s deducted based on the number of hours already on the case. And so, best case scenario it’s done in one or two court appearances, you always have to plan for more though and that’s the difference between a refundable and nonrefundable.