Writing an Impressive Attorney Engagement Letter (with Sample)
Use this sample attorney engagement letter as a template for your formal engagement letter.
Whether a person wants to hire an attorney, or an attorney plans to sign a new client, an attorney engagement letter is recommended before a contract is signed. This letter helps protect the attorney’s and client’s legal rights and obligations and makes the relationship clear before a contract is signed.
An attorney engagement letter is required for:
- A lawyer or law firm that is providing services to a business or individual.
- An individual who is contracting with a lawyer or law firm for legal services.
The letter outlines the attorney-client relationship and documents the terms and conditions of the legal services being given to an individual or business. For example, an attorney may agree to represent a person for bankruptcy proceedings, but if the bankruptcy causes a creditor to sue the client, that may cost the client extra.
Clients Also Have Responsibilities
Clients also have responsibilities. They may be asked to appear for all court proceedings, provide documents and make copies of official papers. It may be in the client’s best interest to take on some of these responsibilities because it may save him or her money in legal fees.
Some of the details that need to be included in the letter are:
- The name of the client
- The name of the attorney or law firm
- A description of the legal services required
- How the attorney will be paid
- If the attorney charges hourly rates
- Whether the law firm has different rates for attorneys and legal aides
- The terms of the payment
- Whether a deposit is required and, if so, how much it is
- The conditions under which the agreement may be terminated by the attorney or the client
- Which state’s laws will govern the agreement
Below is a sample of a simple attorney engagement letter. It can have as many details as the client or attorney requires, but this is the basic structure of the agreement. The letter should be sent by certified mail and the signed copy returned to the attorney by certified mail.
There may be different letters for:
- Fees including hourly, contingency and third party payment of fees
- Joint representation
- Local counsel
- Limited scope retainer agreement
Sample Attorney Engagement Letter
LAW OFFICE LETTERHEAD
City, State, Zip Code
City, State, Zip Code
RE: Engagement for legal services
File ID: NUMBER
Dear Client’s Name:
We are pleased that you have asked our firm to serve as your counsel. The purpose of this letter is to confirm in writing the nature of the engagement and the terms of our representation in the state of Name of State. If you have any questions about this agreement please call me for clarification. If you agree with the terms, kindly sign and return one copy of this letter.
Range of Representation
We have been engaged to represent Client’s Name for the purpose of STATE PURPOSE, which will hereafter be referred to as the “matter”.
Fees and Billing
Our fees are based on an hourly rate for each attorney, from AMOUNT to AMOUNT and for legal assistants who give time to this matter from AMOUNT to AMOUNT per hour. These rates are subject to change. Other factors that may determine fees are the urgency of the matter, the responsibility assumed, the difficulty of the matter, time constraints put by the client and the results obtained as well as any unforeseen circumstances.
Out-of-pocket as well as administrative expenses are billed. I have attached our billing fee policy that is part of the terms and conditions of our engagement. We reserve the right to withdraw if these bills are not paid.
You will deposit the amount of AMOUNT in our trust account for fees and costs. We may ask for more to be deposited should it appear to be necessary. If there is any balance in the account when the matter is complete, we will return it to you.
I will send documents including pleadings and correspondence to you. These are your file copies and should be retained. Please bring all copies to our meetings, so we both have all the information. When my legal work on the matter is complete,
I will return all original documents to you. I will keep copies for seven (7) years from the date the matter ends and destroy the file at that time unless you ask me in writing to keep the documents for a longer period.
If you agree with everything stated in this letter and the attached billing policy, please sign one copy and send it back to be by certified mail.
We are happy to represent you, and you can call at any time for more information.
Signature of Attorney
Printed Name of Attorney
I hear-by give my consent to the contents of this letter. I agree with the proposed course of conduct and have received adequate information. I understand the risks and reasonable alternatives to the proposed course of conduct.
Printed Name of Client and DATE
By Andre Bradley