Here is how we try to do that:
I have implemented customer friendly pricing for my legal services. Unlike most family law firms that insist on billing clients by the hour, I charge flat fees based on the complexity of each case and by working carefully with my clients to arrive at a customized price to handle your family law case from start to finish. I do this by telling my clients upfront how much I will charge them to handle their case per month. This includes uncontested divorces, basic and contested divorce settlements and even court-based (litigated cases). For uncontested matters, I will even quote you a fixed price up front for the entire case. Flat fee billing serves to eliminate the extra stress that can result from not knowing how much the case will ultimately cost.
Let me give you an example of how this works. If a client wants a divorce then I will ask him or her questions about the case to determine its complexity. For example, I would like to know if he or she has children, whether each spouse works, if they own a home, etc.... For a relatively simple case, where no children are involved and both spouses have relatively similar salaries, I might charge $300 dollars per month in attorney’s fees. If I end up spending much more time on the case than I originally anticipated, then that is my problem, not yours.
1) Clients are Not Misled. It is clear that with hourly billing, neither law firms nor clients can accurately predict what the final cost of a case might be. With the new system of flat fee pricing, all potential costs to the client are clear. This gives you the opportunity to better assess — at the outset of the case — if the matter is worth the resources that will have to be spent. Many hourly attorneys will lure clients into signing a fee agreement with the promise of a low retainer, even though the lawyer knows that the final bill could easily be 10 to 20 times higher! I will never trick my clients. If you hire me to be your attorney, you will no longer have to worry that a thirty minute phone call to me will result in a $200 dollar invoice.
2) No Conflict of Interest. With flat fee billing, the focus shifts from time and procedures spent in hourly billing to achieving your mission and your results. These prices create a strong incentive for me to act with a clear plan in mind and to get results expeditiously and efficiently. It also reassures you that I am not going to do any unnecessary work to make your bill higher than it otherwise should be.
Moreover, I never nickel and dime any of my clients. Most attorneys will charge for out-of-pocket expenses, which will increase your bill. When interviewing attorneys, be sure to ask if they charge for extra expenses. Almost always, they do. I do not. I do not charge for routine out-of-pocket expenses, which will save you money over the life of your case. I do not even charge for mileage to get to court or parking fees. I am too busy working on your case to figure out ways to nickel and dime you.
I charge a single flat fee for uncontested divorces which guarantee the my willingness to be on call for your case. I limit my caseload by number, so I am never too busy to handle your case. These are only guidelines and your case may be more or less, depending upon your specific facts and case history.
The following are my typical flat fees for uncontested divorces: