Potential new hourly clients, especially these days, will do everything possible to talk you out of lowering, or eliminating altogether, your requested retainer. Hold fast. If the matter only justifies a small retainer, then proceed accordingly. But if you are about to take on a complex case, with the possibility of becoming a battle royal, you must insist on the retainer, or you will pay the price. Too often have I accepted a reduced retainer, only to find that it was the only payment I was ever going to receive. There are simply too many people out there who will treat you as just another creditor, while you slave along faithfully discharging your duties free of charge. Lower your fee, if need be, but no matter how hungry you are, you will only be hungrier still when a small retainer runs out, and you are saddled with a case that pays nothing, and keeps you up at night. Better that you spend the time on client development, then suffer the frustration and desperation that comes with unpaid effort.