QUESTION: Dear Legal Wiz,
Thank you for your response to my email re client intake. I noticed you mentioned client retainer even for a paralegal. Lawyers usually are the ones to take retainers, so I am nervous to take this.
RESPONSE: Dear PJ
The Legal Profession Act of Jamaicareiterates that where persons are so trained, they can perform duties and therefore a trained paralegal need not be nervous to charge for their fees.
Before an independent paralegal begins any service, they should ensure it is clearly understood that
a. they are paralegals
b. scope of work and relating fees. Better to use the word costs than fees in Jamaica’s legal world
c. possible initial tasks, fees and expenses to be undertaken that could be covered under the retainer
Retainer is really a sum asked for upfront to offset some of the fees and costs. Ensure the client gets an account of what monies were expended when the retainer is finished.
When the retainer sum is finished you must ask client to replenish.
Paralegals working for themselves, or as freelancers should take a retainer. Of course, at all times paralegals should make it clear that they are paralegals operating as paralegals and not lawyers.
When operating for a lawyer or law firm, the fees would be asked for by the lawyer, unless there are other arrangements made.
The above does not constitute or replace professional legal advice.
The responses to the varied submitted questions are drafted by our inhouse journalist, after research and consultations with attornies-at-law and other relating experts in their fields. It is not to be assumed therefore that all members of the Legal Wiz team are trained and practicing attornies-at-law, realtors, investigators, but being a part of the network such personnel utilise their skills for the success of all.
Contact the team at 530-5744