Get Answers Today 601.202.5594
Make Sure Your Family Is Still Standing Turn to One of the Most Renowned Lawyers in the Field

How We Charge

Family Law Attorney in Jackson, MS

Chinn & Associates has implemented unique, customer-friendly pricing for our Jackson divorce and family law services. The basic feature of our pricing is that we work carefully with our clients to arrive at a customized price for specific services. Before representation begins, our clients know the amount they will owe and the maximum amount of resources they will have to dedicate to the matter. This method of pricing is relatively unique to divorce practice and is designed to foster extreme customer satisfaction.

With a divorce or other family law issue, you are already dealing with a number of difficulties. Paying your attorney should not be one of these. By understanding exactly what you will owe before we start handling your case, you will not be blindsided by unforeseen legal costs. This is just one of the ways Jackson divorce attorney Mark Chinn helps during these trying times.

Traditional Fees

Most lawyers charge for their services by the hour. What this typically means is that the lawyers keep track of the time they spend on the case and then send the client a bill for the service, based upon the time spent. Lawyers keep track of their time in intervals, such as quarter hour or tenth of an hour. When they bill the client, they typically put the date the work was completed, a description of the work, and a statement of the time. A bill might look like this:

  • 6/9/06

    Telephone conference with client

    0.25

  • 6/10/06

    Receive and review correspondence from opposing counsel and telephone call with client

    0.50

  • 6/20/06

    Receive and review interrogatories, correspondence to client; prepare Motion to compel

    1.50

  • Total Time

    2.25 X $300 per hour=$675

As you can see, the cost can quickly add up. While Chinn & Associates has employed this method in the past, we believe a better method of pricing exists in the form of what we call “Value Pricing.”

The Change to Value Pricing

Chinn & Associates made the decision to move away from hourly billing because charging by the hour focuses the lawyers’ thoughts on time and procedure instead of mission and results. After nearly thirty years of experience with clients with legal problems, we believe that clients care about how they are served and about the results that are being achieved rather than what amount of time was spent.

As a matter of fact, many people, both in and outside of the legal profession, believe that the billable hour method creates incentives for delay, unnecessary procedure, and increased expense. Chinn & Associates eschews such a method and believes the value pricing method is the method of the future from a client satisfaction standpoint.

Our value pricing method offers such benefits as:

  • Customized pricing. We work with each client individually to develop a clear mission for their legal representation. Once we have the mission in mind, we can determine what price point will work to achieve the client’s goals. We work closely with each client to create a customized price we believe will grant us the best opportunity at achieving a successful outcome.
  • Certainty. Value pricing eliminates the uncertainty of hourly billing, as we will customize a set price for each client based on his or her unique case. The client knows what to expect and is not surprised by additional fees.
  • Clients are not mislead. With hourly billing, it is virtually impossible to say what a case may end up costing a client when all is said and done. Our value pricing protects our clients from being misled by initial estimates that an attorney may offer based on hourly billing practices.
  • Mission-oriented representation. Our prices are customized with results, not time, in mind. Pricing caps and set prices create a strong incentive to efficiently and expeditiously achieve each client’s objectives.
  • The cap. We take it a step further and place a cap on the total cost of our services in our contract with our clients. You will not receive a bill for unforeseen services. You will not be charged more than the contract states.

The American Bar Association & Other Leaders Support “Value Pricing”

Work on the topic of value pricing began with the ABA Law Practice Management Section Task Force on Alternative Billing Methods in 1989. This Task Force publishedBeyond the Billable Hour: An Anthology of Alternative Billing Methods. In 2002, the ABA Commission on Billable Hours published its report. The report contained a Preface by ABA President Robert E. Hirshon, which discussed the many reasons for abandoning the billable hour. In the first sentence of his Preface, he opines that “many of the legal professions contemporary woes intersect at the billable hour.” He writes that the billable hour is responsible for a lack of balance in lawyers’ lives, negative impacts on lawyers’ families, loss of professional mentoring, decrease in lawyer service, less collegiality, and a loss of focus on efficiency.

No less an authority than the Honorable Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States, weighed in on the side of dumping the billable hour, writing in the Foreword of the report, in part: “The villain of the piece is what some call the ‘Treadmill’–continuous push to increase billable hours…The Committee’s technical task, then, …is difficult. Yet I believe it is a challenge that cannot be declined, lest we abandon the very values that led many of us to choose this honorable profession. ”

There have been three important ABA publications on alternative billing:Beyond the Billable Hour: An Anthology of Alternative Billing Methods,Winning Alternatives to the Billable Hour, andBilling Innovations: New Win-Win Ways to End Hourly Billing. InWinning Alternatives to the Billable Hour, ABA President Hirshon writes, “The billable hour, such as it is, encourages too many of the wrong principles and suppresses too many of the right ones.” Foreword, viii. InBilling Innovations, author Richard Reed minces no words about the demise of the billable hour: “[I]t is probable that straight hourly billing (billing by hours spent without limit and without regard for the benefit conferred) will virtually disappear in the years ahead….The time has come to say goodbye to time as the sole criterion for measuring the value of legal services.”

Lately, a new force has entered the picture, CPA and author, Ron Baker who has authored several books on the subject, including: Baker, Ronald J.,Pricing on Purpose: Creating and Capturing Value. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2006. Baker, Ronald J.,Professional’s Guide to Value Pricing. 5th ed. New York: Aspen Publishers, 2004. Baker, Ronald J. and Paul Dunn,The Firm of the Future: A Guide for Accountants, Lawyers and Other Professional Services. Wiley, 2006

In his first work,Value Pricing, Baker traces the history of hourly billing to the 1940’s when large Wall Street firms adopted time sheets. Baker argues emphatically for the demise of the billable hour and presents a lengthy “how to guide” to practitioners on how to convert from hourly billing to what he calls “Value Pricing.” Baker argues that customers do not buyefforts; they buyresults.

Find out more about our Jackson family law services by calling (601) 202-5594.

An Established Jackson Family Law Firm

Built on Excellence

As an AV-rated family law firm by Martindale-Hubbell, Chinn & Associates PC has, without a doubt, built a solid reputation in the Mississippi legal community. We understand that difficult cases involving family can bring emotional hardships to you and your loved ones. Our team handles family law proceedings with the intention of navigating clients through the process as smoothly and seamlessly as possible. We want families throughout Jackson, Mississippi to know that Chinn & Associates PC is a place of refuge when faced with complex legal matters. Watch this video to learn more about our trusted firm.