General Law






Personal Injury


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What is a Conflict of Interest?


Attorneys are professionally prohibited from representing individuals against others they represent (or otherwise have a loyalty to) now or in the past.  To attempt to engage in such a representation would call the attorney’s loyalty to their clients into conflict, hence the phrase a “conflict of interest.” 

From time to time, DORSETT LAW FIRM may decline to represent a prospective client on the basis of a conflict of interest.  This in no way implies a bias or prejudice against the prospective client or their case but merely suggests that the person or persons against whom the prospective client may be in a legal dispute has or have been associated with a member of the firm at some time in the near or distant past either as a client, friend, business associate or family member.

Of course, if representation is declined on the basis of a conflict of interest, no further contact or information can be exchanged between the prospective client and DORSETT LAW FIRM.


What is a Non-Engagement Letter?


In rare situations, and for various reasons, an attorney may choose or be required to decline a case.  In such instances, a non-engagement letter (also known as a Declination Letter) is issued to the prospective client to advise them they will need to seek legal representation elsewhere.

Strength of the facts of the case, strength of the application of the law to the facts, conflict of interest, schedule availability, economic concerns, even previous representations by other attorneys, are all examples of why an attorney may not wish to accept, or may not be able to consider, representation.

We encourage those who may receive such letters to seek counsel elsewhere promptly in order to ensure their rights are not compromised by the passage oftime.


What is an Engagement Letter?


Pennsylvania practice requires all attorneys to put into writing their billing practices to inform clients of the costs ahead.   DORSETT LAW FIRM complies with this requirement by issuing an Engagement Letter that also outlines the work we have agreed to perform for each client.  In most cases, the client reads, signs and delivers the Engagement Letter to us before legal services commence.

The Engagement letter is considered a binding contract and should be read carefully prior to signing.


What is a Retainer?


A retainer is the “good faith” money a client provides the attorney before work on the client's case begins.

During your Initial Consultation the attorney will identify what retainer is required by the firm to initiate work on your behalf.  Some retainers are  non-refundable.

Your retainer is held in trust for you at a federally insured banking institution in a special account known as a Client Escrow Account or Trust Account.  Your retainer will be deposited in a local bank that meets these guidelines.

Your attorney safeguards these monies for you.  Funds are drawn from the Client Escrow Account only after a law firm has devoted valuable resources of time and related expenses to advance your case.  Accountings are provided to you in writing.

Throughout your case you will receive periodic accountings of what work has been performed for you.  If you disagree with the accountings, you should advise your attorney immediately.

Our firm makes every effort to minimize the fees we ask of you.  The retainers we quote are based upon our 20+ years of experience identifying typical minimum costs associated with the legal services required to serve your best interests given your situation.

Should the direction of your case prove more complex than was originally anticipated, you may be asked to replenish the retainer and provide additional funds which will be deposited into the Escrow Account and expended as described above.


 What is a Retention Agreement?


The United States Bankruptcy Court requires attorneys to outline both the specific services they have agreed to render to debtor(s) and to identify the fees chargeable to the debtor(s) for these specific services.

This summary of Agreements between the parties is known as the  Retention Agreement. Once signed by the debtor(s), and once appropriate funds and fees have been remitted, the attorney is retained to file a bankruptcy petition and other papers with the court on behalf of debtors.




  1.  Schedule Your Initial Consultation
  2. Attend your Initial Consultation and meet with the attorney
  3. Tell us you want to hire DORSETT LAW FIRM
  4. We will provide you with an Engagement Letter (or Retention Agreement in Bankruptcy matters) if we are able to take your case*
  5. After reading, sign and date the Engagement Letter (or Retention Agreement) and return it to us with your Retainer

 Once you have completed each of the above, you will have successfully hired our firm and we will go to work for you.

*Note:  On rare occasions, DORSETT LAW FIRM will be required to decline representation to prospective clients for various reasons such as a conflict of interest.


Legal Counsel to Great People™