This Attorney-Client Engagement Letter Template must be used by an attorney to
clearly establish the relationship with the client. This template sets forth all the crucial
terms, including, but not limited to, scope of services, reporting, staffing, fees and costs,
and termination of representation. This template can be modified to guarantee a
personalized final product. This document is ideal for attorneys or law firms that want to
disclose and clarify the scope of their relationship with the client.
Attorney-Client Engagement Letter Template
_________________ [Instructions: Insert date]
_________________ [Instructions: Insert name and address of recipient]
PRIVILEGED & CONFIDENTIAL ATTORNEY-CLIENT COMMUNICATION
VIA _________________ [Instructions: Insert means of sending communication. e.g., email,
Re: Engagement and Fee Agreement for Legal Services
Dear _________________ [Instructions: Insert name of recipient]:
We are very pleased you have chosen us as legal counsel to represent _______________
[Instructions: Insert name of party receiving counsel] (the â€œCompanyâ€ or â€œyouâ€). We believe
that a clear understanding regarding the terms of representation is fundamental to a good
relationship between attorney and client. The State Bar of California requires us to have a
written fee agreement with our clients. Accordingly, this letter confirms the terms of our
representation of you, and we ask that you sign and return a copy of this letter, and wire the trust
account deposit specified below, to indicate your agreement to them.
SCOPE OF SERVICES TO BE PROVIDED
You have asked that we represent the Company in connection with a dispute that has arisen
between the Company and _______________ [Instructions: Insert names of the other parties
to the dispute] and the related litigation. You have requested that our firm represent you in
connection with this litigation (referred to herein as the â€œActionâ€).
Unless a new agreement is made, this fee agreement will apply to any other services we provide
to you as well. However, we do reserve the right to review and modify our fee arrangements
whenever the scope of our engagement is changed, and we may require a new fee agreement if
additional or other services are required.
We understand that, in rendering our services in this matter, we should report to
_______________ [Instructions: Insert the name of the contact person]. We will report
regularly on the status of this matter, and also will report significant developments as they occur.
It is also our practice to provide copies, by _______________ [Instructions: Insert means of
communication. e.g., email in PDF or letter], to the client of all significant documents, letters
and other materials that we generate or receive.
We ask that you remain in close contact with us, and that you be available to consult with us as
developments occur. We also ask that you advise us immediately of any problems or
developments of which you become aware relating to this matter or our representation.
_______________ [Instructions: Set forth who will be working on the case and provide
FEES AND COSTS
We establish an hourly rate for each attorney, or timekeeper, in our firm. Those rates are based
upon a variety of factors, including the experience and expertise of each individual, and are
adjusted by the firm from time to time. Our rates are subject to adjustment. Our rates are
generally increased effective as of _______________ [Instructions: Insert date] of each year.
Our services in this matter will be billed to you at the hourly rates in effect for the period during
which the services are rendered, in _______________ [Instructions: Insert billing increment.
e.g., quarter-hour] increments.
At present, our hourly rates are as follows: _______________ [Instructions: Set forth rates for
each person working for the client]. In return, we want to make certain that our invoices are
paid monthly as they are rendered. Statements are due within _______________ [thirty (30)]
[Comment: These numbers are not provided for by law, but can be any number the user
chooses] days of our rendering them to you.
In addition to our hourly fees, we will bill you for items of cost and expense incurred in our work
on this matter. Items which will be charged separately include copying, messenger services,
court filing fees, postage and express services, a long distance telephone fee, telecopying,
computerized legal research, support staff overtime when necessary, and similar items. Where
appropriate, we may engage third-party providers to perform specific services including without
limitation, document control vendors, court reporters, investigators, etc. If costs to third-party
providers will be incurred over _______________ [Instructions: Insert amount] dollars, we
may require that you make direct payment to the provider. A copy of the cost and expense
schedule currently utilized by the firm at the time of execution of this agreement is attached
hereto. As with our hourly rates, the cost and expense schedule is generally updated on
_______________ [Instructions: Set forth date] of each year. By signing and returning this
agreement, you agree to pay for the services that we render and to pay for other charges that are
incurred in the course of this representation.
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Prior to undertaking any representation in litigation, it is our practice to require a trust deposit to
provide assurance of payment of our fees and costs. We will require an initial trust account
deposit from you, which can be wired to our trust account in the amount of _______________
[Instructions: Set forth amount of deposit] dollars. Wire instructions are as follows:
_______________ [Instructions: Set forth wire instructions]
The trust deposit is neither an advance payment of our fees nor a sum we hold to apply routinely
to our statements. We will hold your trust deposit as security throughout our agreement (like a
landlord does with a tenantâ€™s security deposit) and you agree to pay statements with other funds
as provided in this letter. If you fail to pay a statement timely, we may apply the trust deposit to
pay it after your time to object to the statement has expired. We may require you to provide
further security, add to or increase the amount of your trust deposit if necessary to ensure the
payment of our fees and costs.
The trust deposit is not an estimate and does not establish either minimum or maximum fees and
costs that may be incurred. Usually, if litigation ensues, it will cost far more than
_______________ [Instructions: Insert estimate of costs] to defend or prosecute. Any funds
remaining after our work has been completed and our statements have been paid will be returned
to you. Similarly, if our statements exceed amounts on deposit, you will be obligated to pay that
excess. We cannot provide tax advice and suggest you discuss tax issues with your accountant
and tax advisor.
[Comment: A trust deposit provides extra security for an attorney in ensuring that the
attorney is paid. It is not required, and the User may wish to remove this section]
We will deliver statements for fees and costs within approximately the first two weeks of each
month for services and costs posted during the preceding month. Services and costs not posted
as of the monthly closing date will appear on a subsequent bill. Recognizing that most legal
services are performed outside of the view of the client, it is our policy to describe the services
performed in some detail, so that you will understand fully the work we have done and the
charges for that work.
Statements are due upon presentation. Statements are past due _______________ [thirty (30)]
[Comment: This number is not provided for by law, but can be any number the user
chooses] days after the date that the statement is delivered.
If you have any questions about or objections to a statement, we will be pleased to discuss them
with you and to provide any additional explanation of our work that you may require. It is
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essential that, if you do have questions or objections, you advise us promptly so that we may
resolve any difficulties as quickly as possible and avoid any interference with our attorney-client
relationship. You agree that if you have not informed us of ques