If you’ve spoken to an attorney, no doubt you’ve heard about retainers. But do you know what they are and how they work? A retainer account or trust account works a little bit like a checking account. For example, if you come to meet with me about a divorce and I tell you that I think your case will cost about $2,500, I’ll ask for a $2,500 retainer. That means that you’ll pay $2,500 and we’ll hold it in a trust account. As work gets completed, we pay ourselves out of that trust account. We don’t use any of the retainer money until we’ve earned it.

You may be wondering what happens to the interest that gets earned while the money is sitting in the trust account. The Texas State Bar collects all of that interest and uses it to fund legal services for the poor in Texas.