CHINN & ASSOCIATES FEE AND SERVICE DISPUTE RESOLUTION POLICY
Chinn & Associates is dedicated to delivering the finest legal service at values which comport with the Code of Ethical Conduct for Lawyers in Mississippi. Chinn & Associates is committed to openly soliciting and receiving client feedback on service and fees. We are further committed to resolving all matters regarding service and fees in an ethical and client oriented fashion.
No matter what the method of charging for legal services, the final fee charged is governed as to “reasonableness” by standards set by the Mississippi Bar Association. These standards necessarily dictate that the reasonableness of a fee cannot be finally and accurately determined until the conclusion of representation. Therefore, it is the policy of Chinn & Associates to participate with any interested client in a review of the reasonableness of the fee for services at any time and at the conclusion of representation. The standards are set forth below:
The following factors are stated in the Rules of Professional Conduct to be factors to be considered in determining a reasonable fee:
- The time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill requisite to perform the legal service properly;
- The likelihood, if apparent to the client, that the acceptance of the particular employment will preclude other employment by the lawyer;
- The fee customarily charged in the locality for similar legal services;
- The amount involved and the results obtained;
- The time limitations imposed by the client or by the circumstances;
- The nature and length of the professional relationship with the client;
- The experience, reputation, and ability of the lawyer or lawyers performing the services.
In addition, in the event our client contract is terminated by either party before its termination date or time, Chinn & Associates shall follow the dictates of the Code of Professional Responsibility set forth in Rule 1.16 (d) and in Ethics Opinion 250 generally, and, specifically, in regard to “refunding any advance payment that has not been earned.” The term “earned” has not been defined by any authority and precise definition cannot be easily determined without such definition, since Chinn & Associates does not charge by the hour. Nor has the application of the provisions of Ethics Opinion been defined in terms of contracts such as the ones utilized by Chinn & Associates.
In the event of a client question about fees or refund of any payment after termination of the contract before its termination date or time, Chinn & Associates, shall follow the following steps:
Communicate by phone or in person, at the client’s election, regarding resolution of any questions or disputes, following the tenants of the Rules of Professional Conduct and their interpretations.
If communications with the client do not resolve any questions or disputes, Chinn & Associates, will attend a half day of mediation regarding the matter and will advance the cost of the mediator.
If the matter is still not resolved, Chinn & Associates shall agree to submit the matter to the Mississippi Bar Fee Dispute Resolution Committee.
This policy supercedes all of Chinn & Associates’ rights in regard to fees set forth in any contract with any client, past and future.