The Bruce Law Firm has implemented unique, client friendly pricing for our 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 the representation begins, our clients know the 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 client comfort and satisfaction.
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.
Often, attorneys request an initial “trust deposit” or “retainer” from the client. This “retainer” is placed in a client funds account and the attorneys charge for their time against the retainer until it is exhausted. Once the retainer is exhausted, clients might be asked to replenish the retainer or pay the remaining monthly bills from the attorney upon receipt. On occasion, clients misunderstand that the “retainer” is not the total cost of the case, but only an initial deposit.
While our firm has employed this method in the past, and offers this “traditional hourly billing” to those clients who request it, we believe a better method of pricing exists in the form of what we call “Value Pricing.”
The Change to Value Pricing
Our firm made the decision to change because charging by the hour focuses the lawyers thoughts on time and procedure instead of strategy and results. After years of assisting clients in divorce and family law cases 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. Our firm eschews such a method and believes the value pricing method is the method of the future from a client comfort and satisfaction standpoint. The positive attributes of the value pricing method include:
- Customized Price. The firm works with each client to carefully determine the options available, and the costs and benefits of each course, and works with the client to develop a clear strategy for achieving their goals. Once the strategy is developed, the price is developed in careful consultation with the client, to make sure the price fits the client’s goals, the value to the client, and the strategy that needs to be implemented to appropriately achieve the client’s objectives.
- Certainty. The firm will customize a price for the specific legal work that will be completed and specify the price for the work.
- Clients are Not Misled. Our experience has proven that neither clients nor attorneys fully grasp what the final cost of a case might be when the hourly billing method is used. Thus, even though an attorney might warn a client that the cost is unpredictable, the client is misled into thinking the cost is manageable because the initial retainer is often low compared to the final cost of the case. For example, attorneys charging under the hourly billing method might ask for a retainer of $7,500 but the total cost of the case when it is finished could be more than ten times that amount. Each hourly-based bill the client receives can become somewhat of a shock or a surprise. With value pricing the charges to the client are clear. This gives clients the opportunity to better assess–at the outset–if the matter is worth the resources that will have to be applied.
- Goal Orientation. Prices are customized with results in mind, not time and procedures. This creates a strong incentive to the firm to implement strategies designed to achieve client goals in an expeditious and efficient manner.
How Does Value-Pricing Work?
Most clients will initially choose to have a divorce consultation and strategy meeting with Christopher R. Bruce. After learning about a client’s background and goals, and their preference and level of comfort with the strategic options best suited to achieve their desired outcome, Mr. Bruce works with his clients to determine the value based price associated with the firm representing the client.
As part of this process, the firm will develop a customized “case plan” for achieving the client’s goals. The value based price the client pays to the firm will allow the client the certainty in the legal costs associated with implementing the client’s case plan.
The initial case plan for the client will be broken down to what realistically needs to be done to intelligently resolve the client’s divorce or family law matter at the earliest available opportunity. While there will be discussions concerning the prices associated with taking the client’s matter to conclusion through the court system, the initial price the client pays to the firm is in most circumstances reflective of the legal services required to resolve the client’s legal matters prior to full-blown litigation.
In situations where sensible resolutions cannot be reached or reasonably expected without a more involved legal strategy, as is common when dealing with a complex financial matter or a difficult opposing party, the client and firm will implement a litigation-focused case plan that has value-based prices tied to stages of the representation. This type of arrangement allows the client to have certainty in the price of their legal representation, which often allows for a more intelligent evaluation of the client’s settlement and litigation options.
As you might expect, value-based pricing is highly customized to you. As such, the firm will need to develop a detailed understanding of your situation to finalize a pricing proposal. That being said, in most circumstances, the price to initiate litigation will range between $7,500 -$20,000.