Definition - What does Retainer mean?
A retainer is an advanced payment made by a client to an attorney for services to be rendered. It is intended to ensure that the lawyer will represent the client and that the lawyer will be paid at least that amount. A retainer can be a single advanced payment or a recurring payment.
Justipedia explains Retainer
It is common in the legal profession for a person seeking the services of an attorney to pay a retainer in order begin the attorney-client relationship. Most lawyers fear being owed substantial amounts of money because it is, believe it or not, quite difficult and creates many problems when a lawyer sues his or her client for owed fees. Retainers ensure that the attorney will be paid for the work they perform.