I do new potential client intakes for our law offices and one of the biggest complaints I hear is, “This consultation should be free! Other lawyers give free consultations!” Yes, some attorneys do offer free consultations, we do not for a few reasons. Some of the reasons we charge for consultations might surprise you, but hopefully this blog article will help clear up some confusion and common misconceptions.
- No attorney really offers free consultations. Free consultations are not for free legal advice, offering “free consultations” is just a clever marketing strategy. Attorneys are held to very high standards, the second an attorney opens their mouth to give you legal advice it automatically creates an attorney-client relationship and invokes attorney-client privilege. When the attorney-client relationship begins, the attorney is bound by oath and the rules of their professional responsibility to you, even if no money has changed hands. Think of your consultation fee as more of a mini-retainer, the consultation fee protects both you and the attorney. If an attorney is advertising free consultations, I can guarantee you will not be receiving free legal advice at your consultation, you’ll be sitting through a sales pitch. It is also important to keep in mind some areas of law, such a personal injury, do have free initial consultations. However, the consultations for these kinds of specialized areas of law are more of a fact-finding mission, you won’t be sitting through a sales pitch or receiving free legal advice, the attorney is just trying to determine if you have a case. Sometimes for these kinds of specialized areas of law like personal injury, it’s not even an attorney conducting the consultation, it’s a paralegal or intake specialist.
- We value our clients. You’ll see it in our motto and our mission statement-it’s all about the client. It is simply not fair to our valued clients who have paid their retainer for our attorneys to be giving away their time and advice to you because you feel entitled to free legal advice. Since we hold our clients in such high regard, we take the time to get to know you personally during our consultations so we can provide you with the best advice possible.
- Your Rewards Card isn’t free. Many people use credit cards with rewards programs, the more you swipe the more rewards you earn. However, it is not your credit card company that is giving you these rewards, they charge the vendor for rewards. So, if you use your card with us, we pay for your reward. All those rewards add up at the end of the month, credit card processing fees are one of our (and many other businesses’) biggest operating costs.