Availability retainer is not an advance payment.
Typically, attorneys ask for a retainer, so they won’t end up with nothing in their pocket. It goes like this. You hire an attorney to represent in a civil action. You pay $1,000 as a part of the retainer agreement between you and your attorney. The attorney will do works for your case such as attending a court hearing. He might charge you $250 for the hearing, and you will have a balance of $750.
Availability retainer is different. When you pay $200 to your attorney as an availability retainer, your attorney is promising that a sufficient time for your case will be available in the future. It’s like an earnest money in a real property transaction, but the difference is that the money doesn’t become a part of your payment at the end.
This retainer is based on the idea that “time is money”. Even if a lawyer does not render a legal service, a client should pay for the time. The reason IPfever adopted this idea is to fairly treat honest lawyers. When you walk in to a law office and spend time there, the law office (which is for profit after all) becomes very reluctant to let you go whether or not you really need a legal service. When you pay for their time, things get much easier.