These summaries were prepared by McGuireWoods LLP lawyer Thomas E. Spahn. They are based on the letter opinions issued by the Virginia State Bar. Any editorial comments reflect Mr. Spahn's current personal views, and not the opinions of the Virginia State Bar, McGuireWoods or its clients. 
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8-Bills and Fees

A lawyer may charge a "retainer or periodic payment . . . to ensure his availability to the client . . . as consideration for the lawyer's unavailability to potential adversary parties." However, such a retainer is different from "advance legal fees," which are "fees paid in advance for services on a specific matter" and therefore remain the property of the client until ultimately earned by the lawyer.

Copyright 2000, Thomas E. Spahn