Our fee agreements provide that the fee for legal services is earned upon agreement or receipt, whichever occurs first, and is not refundable. Since the fee is earned, we may deposit the fee into our operating account, but we do not always do so.
In some cases, especially when the fee is substantial, we may initially deposit part or all of the fee into a trust account. We do this in part because, in hindsight, a fee may be justified (e.g., because the services were not finished due to the death of the lawyer, or because it is otherwise clearly excessive).
We err on the side of caution in such cases. We preserve the fee much like we would do for a refundable advance fee and transfer it from one account to the other as services are provided. We want to avoid a situation where, for example, we have already used the fee or paid taxes on it, and it is no longer available for a refund.
In sum, we may deposit the fee the operating account or trust account, at our discretion, and you as the client consent to same as part of the agreement.
- Rule 1.5 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct
- Rule 1.15 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct