Is it permissible under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct for a lawyer to include in an employment contract an agreement that the amount initially paid by a client with respect to a matter is a “non-refundable retainer” that includes payment for all the lawyer’s services on the matter up to the time of trial?
A lawyer proposes to enter into an employment agreement with a client providing that the client will pay at the outset an amount denominated a “non-refundable retainer” that will cover all services of the lawyer on the matter up to the time of any trial in the matter. The proposed agreement also states that, if a trial is necessary in the matter, the client will be required to pay additional legal fees for services at and after trial. The lawyer proposes to deposit the client’s initial payment in the lawyer’s operating account.
Tex. Comm. On Professional Ethics, Op. 611 (2011)