Once you’ve decided to hire an attorney, you should get a written agreement that clearly states what you can expect. This agreement might be called an engagement letter, retainer, or contract, or might not have any title at all. Most states say that attorneys have an ethical obligation to put this agreement in writing, to protect both you and the lawyer. Most attorneys will want this signed before they begin work on any case. Look for things like:
• What services the lawyer or firm will provide
• Which lawyer or paraprofessional will provide the services
• Whether you’ll pay a different rate depending on who provides the services
• How and when you’re expected to pay
• What happens to the money you pay
• What happens to the ...