Services: David P. Vandagriff, Attorney, agrees to provide the following legal services for Annie Author: With the adoption of the new ethical rules in November 2018, California joined the vast majority of jurisdictions that require attorneys to pay all client funds, including advanced attorney fees, into a Client Trust Account (CTA). The old rule 4-100 only required deposits for fees that had to be filed in an AOC. The best practice was to pay a preliminary fee into a CTA, as these „funds are partly owned by a client and partly owned by a client or potentially to the member or law firm” and could be properly paid into a CTA in accordance with the previous rule 4-100 (A) (2). A lawyer has always had an obligation to „repay any portion of a prepaid royalty that was not earned under the previous rule 3-700(D)(2), so this was the surest way to have the funds in trust. However, the anticipated fees did not have to be paid into a CTA. Many lawyers have not paid a routine advance fee in a CTA. Now, in accordance with Rule 1.15, pre-taxes must be paid into a CTA which, in almost all cases, covers the preservation of the funds and property of clients and other persons. Under Rule 1.5(d), a lawyer does not have to file a true re-enteror in a CTA, as a true retainer is not a payment for pre-paid fees, but a payment made to ensure the availability of a lawyer. Fees: The fee is due at the time Annie signs this agreement and is payable regardless of the results of David`s services. The fee is $250 and is not kept in a fiduciary account. In practice, the lawyer should therefore share what the package represents.
For example, there could be a flat fee to resolve the case if there is no pre-hearing, trial or full investigation. Additional fees may include a separate fee if the case moves to a preliminary hearing and another fee for the main hearing. This is a milestone approach.  (See Reynolds v. Sorosis Fruit Co., 133 Cal. 625, 628 (1901), „the fact that the services provided by [the lawyer] were reasonably worth more than the price for which he agreed to provide them cannot be taken into consideration. If the benefits had been found to be much lower than those that the parties had in mind and had only $10 in consideration, the defendant must ultimately pay the fees for future work on the lawyer`s fiduciary account, unless, in the lump sum fee situation, the lawyer discloses in writing that the client has the right to have it in the fiduciary account, until it is earned, and the customer is entitled to a refund of an unensized amount. Most defense lawyers need to review their retainer agreements. A lawyer may enter into an agreement for a fee or charge a lump sum fee for certain legal services.
A lump sum is a fixed amount that represents a full payment for the provision of the services described, regardless of the volume of the final work and that can be paid in whole or in part before the provision of these services by the lawyer. Second, most lawyers need a fiduciary account, even if it is rarely used. Lawyers can no longer indicate that fees are earned at the front desk and that they have entered our operating accounts. Instead, all fees paid in advance by default (including lump sum fees) must be used in trust until they are earned. […] Examples of fee agreements and limited checklists can be found in the ceB Manual of Fee Agreement Forms, Chapter 9. And you can find more information about the new ethical rules on flat fees in Megan Zavieh`s blog post. […] For example, if a case were to be dismissed at an early stage of the trial (before the lawyer had spent a lot of time), the lawyer would indicate the „no refund” part of the agreement. They would argue that if it had not been for the fear that the defense lawyer had made to the prosecutor by his mere presence in the case, it had not resolved so early and cheaply.