Retainers and Non-engagement letters
Model retainers and agreements are provided by LAWPRO for your consideration and use when you draft your own documents. They are not meant to be used “as is”. Their suitability will depend upon a number of factors, such as the current state of the law and practice in each area of law, your writing style, your needs and the needs and preferences of you and your clients. These documents may need to be modified to correspond to current law and practice.
On July 1, 2021 new contingency fee regulations come into effect, including the introduction of a prescribed standard form Contingency Fee Agreement that must be used except where the client is a sophisticated client or where the court has approved the Contingency Fee Agreement or the ultimate contingency fee. To learn more about the new contingency fee requirement, and to download the new standard for Contingency Fee Agreement, see the Law Society of Ontario’s Contingency Fee Reform page and by reading 10 Tips to Adapt to the New Contingency Fee Regime.
Retainer letters or agreements should include reference to the following:
- identity of the lawyer and the client;
- scope of service (is your work to be limited in any way?);
- obligations of client;
- delegation of work;
- expected chronology;
- fee arrangement;
- billing format;
- rate changes;
- withdrawal or termination of services; and
- conflicts of interest.
These documents were originally drafted by the Law Society of British Columbia, and are reproduced with permission. LAWPRO gratefully acknowledges the work the Law Society of British Columbia did in preparing these documents.
Drafting a non-engagement letter: If you decline an engagement for legal services or the client chooses not to retain you, the non-engagement should immediately be confirmed in writing by way of a non-engagement letter.