It is impossible to say for sure without being able to see your agreement. But this sounds pretty standard. Here in Michigan, the courts have determined that the client is required to pay for the expenses of the lawsuit. Normally, in Michigan, you would get credit for paying these, when the lawsuit settles or a judgment is awarded. The fee would be on the "net recovery," not the gross. This could certainly be a difference from one state to another.
Best of luck to you!
*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.
While it is not standard practice to establish an escrow account to pay for disbursements it is standard practice to make it the client's responsibility to pay same. Many attorneys will waive disbursements if the case is unsuccessful. Most will advance the fees on behalf of the client. The rest of the retainer seems standard.
This e-mail may contain confidential or privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender immediately by return e-mail and delete this e-mail and all copies and attachments. If you are not the intended recipient, or the employee or agent responsible for delivering the message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. IRS Circular 230 Notice: Unless specifically stated otherwise, any tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. Unless specifically stated otherwise, this communication shall not be deemed to be legal or tax advice, and no attorney-client relationship shall be deemed to have been created.
Most of the retainer is fairly standard. Attorneys have a right to collect expert fees in advance, but few do,and even few put in the retainer up front for the fear of offending and deterring prospective clients. . I am concerned that the clauses in the contract you signed, will be used toward the end of the case by the attorney to force you to settle. Don't be surprised if once a settlement offer is made, the attorney turns to you and says "take the offer or put 30k in the expert fund so we can go to trial, and if you don't, I'll withdraw. " Anyhow, let us know in a couple of years how it works out.
If you'd like to discuss, please feel free to call. Jeff Gold Gold, Benes, LLP 1854 Bellmore Ave Bellmore, NY 11710 Telephone -516.512.6333 Email - Jgold@goldbenes.com