Retainers And Loans

Giuliani’s assertion on Hannity’s show: When I heard Cohen’s retainer of thirty-five thousand, when he was doing no work for the President, I said, ‘That’s how he’s repaying it, with a little profit and a little margin for paying taxes, for Michael.’

I don’t care to dig into the nuances of loan repayment, but I’ve paid lawyers retainer fees for doing no work. A retainer is money paid to ensure you have a lawyer on-hand to provide legal advice and services if you need them. Should your requirements exceed that which the retainer contract permits, you get billed extra. But I’ve never seen a retainer contract that had stipulations in case the client ended up *not* needing services during the period. If you pay 35k for a one-year contract that provides up to 40 hours per month on assignments determined by the client … well, zero is “up to 40” and you’ve paid 35k for no work. You paid for the willingness to provide work and for the work should it be needed. Which is why people who do not routinely require legal assistance don’t tend to keep a lawyer on retainer: no point dropping a couple grand a month every month you don’t need a lawyer. Wait until you are, say, writing your will and hire one for the specific task.

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