Retainer Agreement


           ATTORNEY-CLIENT RETAINER AGREEMENT

  1. This Agreement confirms that the undersigned Client has retained ZHAMAKOCHYAN FAMILY LAW to represent Client, subject to the foregoing terms and conditions:

    IT IS UNDERSTOOD AND AGREED BY AND BETWEEN CLIENT AND ATTORNEY AS FOLLOWS:

  2. NO ESTIMATE AS TO TOTAL FEES:  At present, it is impossible to determine the nature and extent of the legal services which will be necessary in this matter.  Attorney shall exert as much time as he/she determines to be necessary to fully and adequately represent Client's interests and rights, and if possible, to seek an amicable resolution of all issues.  The amount of the retainer stated in Paragraph 6 below does not constitute an estimate of the total fees Client may incur in this case.  It is, simply, a deposit in an amount arbitrarily determined by the Attorney.  Client acknowledges that Attorney has given no estimates or opinion or made any promises as to what the total fees will be in this matter.

  3. NO PROMISES AS TO FINAL OUTCOME:  Although Attorney may offer an opinion about possible results in Client's case, Attorney cannot guarantee any particular result.  Client acknowledges that Attorney has made no promises about the outcome and that any opinion offered by Attorney in the future will not constitute a guarantee.

  4. ATTORNEY'S FEES:  The current hourly rate for each attorney, law clerk and paralegal in the firm is attached hereto.  Said hourly rates may be increased annually, upon 60 days advance written notice to Client.  Said increase shall not exceed ten percent (10%) per year.      Attorney maintains errors and omissions insurance as required by the California Business and Professions Code, Section 6148(4). 

  5. COMPUTATION OF ATTORNEY'S HOURLY RATE:  The hourly rate shall be computed for all time spent on this case, including but not limited to, time spent in consultation with client, emails, telephone calls, dictating letters/correspondence/emails, preparing, reviewing and/or revising legal documents/emails/letters, legal research, conducting discovery, travel time from office to court, from court to office, travel time from office to settlement conference location and from settlement conference location to office, time in negotiations, time in depositions and court time (including waiting time).  If more than one person is working on your case at the same time, you will be charged for each person’s time, at his or her billing rate, for all services rendered.  Attorneys, paralegals, law clerks, and secretaries/assistants as employed by ZHAMAKOCHYAN FAMILY LAW, may provide their time and services to Client, which shall be directly supervised by Attorney.  Attorney and staff shall charge Client a minimum fee of two-tenths (2/10) of an hour for any service performed on behalf of Client, including, but not limited to, telephone conferences, correspondence, preparation/revision of documents, etc.  If the service takes longer than two-tenths (2/10) of an hour, time shall be charged at increments of one-tenth (1/10) of an hour.  Billing rates do not include any out-of-pocket expenses such as copies, faxes and court fees, which will be billed as additional charges to Client pursuant to Paragraph 10 below. No refund or write-offs will be issued for any document that is prepared but is not used or not filed for whatever reason. Client is responsible for the fees incurred in preparation of any document prepared in the case, even if the document is not used or filed for whatever reason.

  6. RETAINER:  A retainer fee determined by Attorney is a prerequisite to Attorney acting on Client's behalf in the above-described  matter(s).   This payment will assure the availability of the Attorney's services in this matter.  The retainer will also act as a credit toward Attorney's fees incurred by Client in this matter.  If said fees incurred by the conclusion of this case or by the severance of the Attorney's representation herein do not exhaust the amount the Client has paid as a retainer, the difference (credit balance) will be refunded to the Client by Attorney in approximately 45 days (after receipt of written notice) of the termination of the case or after Attorney ceases to represent Client in this matter. Retainer must be replenished before it is exhausted with an amount decided by Attorney. Account cannot have $0 balance at any time.

  7. REPLENISH RETAINER FOR TRIALS AND EVIDENTIARY HEARINGS: An advance payment of at least $10,000 is required before an evidentiary hearing or a trial is set, unless otherwise agreed by Attorney and Client in writing. No trials or evidentiary hearings will be set unless the Client has at least $10,000 in credit on his or her account or otherwise agreed upon by Attorney and Client in writing (email ok). Said $10,000 does not constitute an estimate of the total fees Client may incur for trial or evidentiary hearing.  It is, simply, a deposit in an amount arbitrarily determined by Attorney.  Client acknowledges that Attorney has given no estimates or opinion or made any promises as to what the total fees will be for trial or evidentiary hearing. Client acknowledges that the cost of trial or an evidentiary hearing may exceed $10,000 and agrees to pay any additional amount upon receipt of the invoice. If said $10,000 is not exhausted by the conclusion of the case or by the severance of the Attorney's representation herein, the difference (credit balance) will be refunded to the Client by Attorney in approximately 45 days (after receipt of written notice) of the termination of the case or after Attorney ceases to represent Client in this matter. In general, for each day of trial or an evidentiary hearing, three days of preparation is necessary, however, the cost of trials and evidentiary hearings in a particular case depends on the case and the issues to be litigated.

  8. CLIENT MUST PAY ATTORNEY'S BILL MONTHLY:  ATTORNEY  FEES AND EXPENSES INCURRED OVER THE AMOUNT OF RETAINER SHALL BE DUE AND PAYABLE UPON CLIENT'S RECEIPT OF THE STATEMENT EACH MONTH.  ATTORNEY WILL NOT FINANCE CLIENT'S CASE AND CLIENT'S BILL MUST BE PAID EACH MONTH IN FULL.  In the event that Client does not pay any part of Attorney's Statement within thirty (30) days of same, then Attorney reserves the right to assess a late charge of 1 percent per month on the unpaid balance. The late charges provided for herein should not be interpreted as an extension of credit. If Attorney ever waives Client's strict compliance with the terms of this paragraph, doing so does not preclude Attorney from insisting on full compliance later.

  9. CREDIT CARD PROCESSING FEES:   If Client makes a payment using a credit card, a fee of 4% of the total payment will apply toward Client’s fees.

  10. PAYMENT OF ATTORNEY'S FEES/COSTS BY ANOTHER PARTY:  The Court may order, or the parties to the dispute may agree, that the other party will pay some or all of Client's attorney's fees, costs, or both.  Any such order or agreement will not affect Client's obligation to pay attorney's fees and costs under this agreement, nor will Attorney be obligated under this agreement to enforce such an order or agreement.  Any such amounts actually received by Attorney, however, will be credited against attorney's fees and costs incurred by Client.  If Client requests that attorney engage in collection procedures against his/her spouse for fees and/or support he or she is ordered to pay, then attorney shall charge client for such collection efforts pursuant to all the other terms of this agreement.

  11. COSTS:  In addition to the hourly rate stated above, Client shall advance and pay or shall immediately reimburse Attorney for all costs incurred by Attorney in representing Client in this matter.  Costs include but are not limited to, court filing fees, court reporter fees, transcripts, excessive postage costs, and parking costs.  If it is necessary or useful to employ, appraisers, accountants, psychiatrists or other experts on Client's behalf, those persons will be employed only with Client's express agreement and Client will be responsible for their bills, independent of Attorney's office and payable directly to the expert as required by said person.

  12. SCOPE OF ATTORNEY'S EMPLOYMENT:  The scope of Attorney's employment by Client herein does not include enforcement, appeal, or any procedure other than that described in Paragraph 1 herein above.

  13. POWER OF ATTORNEY:  Client hereby gives Attorney power of attorney to execute pleadings on behalf of Client if Client is unavailable at the time the pleadings are due to be filed with the Court.

  14. ATTORNEYS DO NOT TAKE INCOMING, UNSCHEDULED TELEPHONE CALLS:  Client hereby acknowledges his/her understanding that the attorneys are unable to take incoming telephone calls without a prior appointment for same being made.  Client hereby agrees to schedule an office or telephone appointment through Attorney’s Office whenever Client requires direct contact with attorneys. Some of our staff and attorneys are working remotely during this time. We ask that you send all communications to our office via email whenever possible to ensure a prompt reply. Attorney is unavailable to respond to emails or answer phone calls outside of office hours (M-F 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.). No cell phone numbers will be provided to Client.

  15. ANY CLAUSE UNENFORCEABLE:  Should any provision of this Attorney-Client Retainer Agreement be held unenforceable by a court of law, all other provisions of said Agreement shall remain in full force and effect.

  16. CLIENT RESPONSIBILITIES/MANDATORY DISCLOSURE:  In terms of your responsibilities to us, you agree that you will provide us with information and papers as requested; keep together in a safe place all papers that we send you; communicate with us as necessary; return our telephone calls and respond to our letters; keep us informed of your residence and business addresses and telephone numbers; and give us advance notice of any extended travel or vacation plans.  In addition, part of our agreement is that you will truthfully disclose all income, assets, and liabilities to the other party, as required under Family Code §2100, et seq., through the Preliminary and Final Declarations of Disclosure, and you will also be truthful in all declarations or statements made to the Court under penalty of perjury.  If you refuse to disclose any such income, assets, and liabilities, you agree that this office will have the right to withdraw from the case, as we have an ethical duty to the court to ensure that its rules are upheld, and its processes conducted properly.  Full disclosure also protects the Judgment from being vulnerable to set aside.  Failure to disclose may also result in monetary sanctions being imposed on a party by the court.  

  17. ARBITRATION OF FEES OR OTHER DISPUTES: Any dispute between Client and Attorney or any claim by Client against Attorney, or any attorney and personnel thereof, or by Attorney against Client, relating to any manner to the representation of Client or services rendered to Client, which cannot be resolved informally, shall be referred to a binding arbitration.  This provision applies to, among other things, any disputes regarding fees and costs, or the quality of services.  By agreeing to this provision, you are waiving any right you may have to a trial by jury or by a judge, as well as any rights to an appeal, as well as formal discovery rights which parties to a lawsuit filed in court may have.  We urge you to seek the advice of an independent attorney of your choosing on this provision as well as any other provision contained in this Agreement.                                     
  1. DESTRUCTION OF FILE: Client understands that the Attorney may store client's file in an electronic/digital format.  Client agrees that the work product of our attorneys and staff, including notes, research, documents we prepare, is the property of the firm. It is our policy to destroy all client files (including all documents and materials therein), five (5) years after we close such files upon completion of each matter. This file destruction procedure is automatic, and you will not receive further notice prior to the destruction of these files. Accordingly, we advise you to maintain your own files relating to the matters which we are handling. If you wish to obtain your file, you must do so by written request within the five (5) year period. You agree to personally pick up your file from our office on a pre-arranged date and time.

CLIENT AUTHORIZES ATTORNEY TO DESTROY SAID FILE AND THE ENTIRE CONTENTS AFTER FIVE YEARS FROM CONCLUSION OF THE MATTER WITHOUT FURTHER NOTIFICATION TO CLIENT.

ATTORNEY’S AND STAFF FEES

SIRANUSH ZHAMAKOCHYAN, ATTORNEY.................................................................... $400.00 per hour

This Agreement confirms that the undersigned Client has retained the ZHAMAKOCHYAN FAMILY LAW to represent  for the following described Family Law matter(s):

                                                                                                                 

I HAVE READ ALL THE ABOVE, UNDERSTAND IT, AND AGREE TO ALL OF IT

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Signed by Siranush Zhamakochyan
Signed On: May 1, 2024


Signature Certificate
Document name: Retainer Agreement
lock iconUnique Document ID: e89c804beb6e099795ec1b19fb7ccd89632c352a
Timestamp Audit
April 23, 2024 2:58 pm PDTRetainer Agreement Uploaded by Siranush Zhamakochyan - Siranush@zfamilylawfirm.com IP 160.223.185.227