There are two parts to a retainer.
The first part is known as a legal services agreement. It is in letter form and details the work I will do for you and what the costs will be. This is provided shortly after your first consultation appointment where we will also discuss an up-front deposit. It will also identify the key issues to be dealt with in your case. Effectively, it is a type of contract between you and your lawyer.
The second part of a retainer is the fee you pay to your lawyer to start working on your behalf. The money is held in trust until it is earned and billed to you. Once that happens the lawyer is permitted to use the retainer funds held in trust to pay your account. Once services end, if there are retainer funds left, then those funds are returned to you.
The amount of retainer will depend on what type of service you require. However, I am willing to discuss the retainer amount depending on the circumstances of your case and the work that will be required. Payment plans are a possibility in some cases.