EDIT: While we do charge for initial consultations, please note we do offer a free 15 minute phone call to determine whether an initial consultation is appropriate for you. No legal advice will be given during the phone call but we can normally tell within minutes whether we can help you or if you should speak to one of the other great lawyers in our referral network. Call us and speak with our client services director to schedule a call.
You might think the consultation is just a chance to find out how much we will charge for the matter and decide if you want to retain us, but there is much more to it than that.
Our initial consultation usually lasts an hour. We ask about the facts of your situation and may ask you to bring certain documents or information for us to review during the consultation. We assess your needs and concerns, analyze your situation in the context of relevant laws, and offer preliminary advice. We answer any questions you may have and explain the process for moving forward if you choose to retain us. An initial consultation does not necessarily mean you have retained us, but any information shared with us during the consultation remains confidential. We believe that our clients receive great value from these consultations, which is why we charge a fee.
There are lawyers that offer free consultations. Those lawyers might just be trying to get more clients through the door. Instead of giving away free advice, we prefer to spend our time helping clients who understand and appreciate the benefits of our services. We are not trying to be like other law firms in fact we pride ourselves on being different from most other firms.
Another reason other lawyers might offer free consultations is if they practice in a different area of law than we do. For example, personal injury lawyers typically work on a contingency fee basis (only charging the client on successful completion of the matter) so charging for a consultation would be inconsistent with that.
Charging an initial consultation fee sets the tone with potential clients. It shows that the client takes the matter seriously and is willing to invest in it. It also communicates that our advice is valuable and sets expectations from the beginning of our relationship.
The fee filters out people who are just looking for free advice and have no intention of retaining us. People who object to the consultation fee are less likely to pay our retainer fee or future bills.