Limited Retainers, Limitless Options

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Limited Retainers, Limitless Options

What is a retainer agreement?

You may have heard of a retainer agreement, also known as an engagement agreement. These terms are interchangeable, and both mean a contract between a lawyer and his/her client.

A retainer agreement describes the legal services the lawyer will provide to his/her client. It sets out the scope of what the lawyer will and will not do for the client.

What is a limited retainer?

A limited retainer is exactly what the name suggests: a retainer agreement where a lawyer agrees to do limited work for his/her client. Generally, a limited retainer is a hybrid of the client having no legal representation for some parts of their legal matter and a lawyer providing legal services for other parts of their legal matter.

When is a limited retainer used?

Some examples where you might consider a limited retainer include:

  1. You have been served with court documents, and you are required to prepare and file court documents in response. You would like a lawyer to provide direction and advice about completing your documents and/or to review the drafts of your documents before you file them; or
  2. You are scheduled to participate in a mediation or a trial. You plan to attend alone without a lawyer and speak for yourself. At the same time you have questions about the mediation or court process and want help preparing for your day in court or mediation. You meet with a lawyer beforehand to coach you in preparation for the mediation or trial.

In these situations, as well as others, a limited retainer may work for you.

What are the benefits of a limited retainer?

A limited retainer is not appropriate for every legal matter. At the same time, they are becoming more common.

Limited retainers may be valuable when you want the benefit of a lawyer’s assistance, but do not need that assistance throughout the entirety of a legal matter. The availability of legal information from both the Internet and increased resources in Medicine Hat has assisted people in exploring and dealing with their own legal matters. As a result, they may only require a limited retainer.

Also, the financial benefits of limited retainers may be appealing, particularly in the current economy. Hiring a lawyer may be something you have a challenge affording and your budget may mean you cannot commit to the cost of a full retainer.

It is important clients understand all their choices when they think about hiring a lawyer. If you find yourself in a situation where you might benefit from legal advice on a timely basis, consider a limited retainer. Do some research about lawyers who do work in the area where you need legal advice or assistance and then ask your lawyer about a limited retainer.

If you have any questions about limited retainers or when they may be beneficial, please contact one of our lawyers at (403) 527-4411 or email us at

Pritchard and Co
Pritchard and Co. Law Firm, LLP helps you navigate the turning points of life. Contact us at 403-527-4411 or at