The Free Consultation
Some lawyers offer prospective clients a free initial consultation, others do not. Why do some lawyers do it and others not? It really comes down to the lawyer’s individual business model. Many lawyers offer the free consultation as an opportunity to gain a new client. The lawyer is able to meet a prospective client, assess the potential client’s case and offer legal services. The prospective client is comfortable with this arrangement because they don’t have to pay anything if they choose not to hire the lawyer.
Other lawyers do not offer a free consultation, but rather choose to charge their prospective client a fee for the very first meeting. These lawyers typically offer a more robust initial consultation, delving deeper into the client’s case on the first meeting. There could be other reasons to charge an initial consultation fee. The lawyer could be very busy and not really need that many new clients, or the lawyer is being very selective with which clients he takes on and the consultation fee weeds out potential clients that may not be a good fit for his or her practice.
At John W. Lee, PC we offer a Free Initial Consultation to prospective clients that are seeking to retain counsel for the following matters: file a personal bankruptcy, file for a divorce, looking to establish an estate plan, have a custody matter, have been charged with a crime, need representation for a traffic violation, seeking to adopt a stepchild, or seeking to establish a guardianship. During the free consultation, the attorney will discuss with you the facts of your case, go over relevant law, explain the process, and give an opinion as to the likely results. During the free consultation you will receive valuable information that will help you decide if you should hire the lawyer or pursue a different course of action.
The attorneys at John W. Lee, PC also offer paid initial consultations on certain matters. During the paid consultation the attorney will review documents, contracts, pleadings and offer more specific advice on exactly how you should proceed. Many times, after a paid consultation, there is no need to hire the lawyer because he answered the questions and provided the needed advice. The most common reason a client would choose to do a paid consultation is because they need the lawyer to review a document or set of documents and explain them.
Often times a client will hire us to review a contract, commercial lease, franchise agreement, property settlement agreement, prenuptial agreement, corporate formation documents, existing estate planning documents, pleadings in an existing case, etc. After reviewing the documents we explain them and advise the client as to next steps. Typically, we charge between $175.00 and $300.00 for a paid consultation. That would cover up to one hour of the lawyer’s time. For longer, more complex documents, we may charge additional fees to review them.
There are things you can do to get the most value from your paid consultation. If you have a document that you want the lawyer to review, make sure you have a copy of the document that you have highlighted the portions in advance where you have specific questions. Make sure it’s a copy that the lawyer can mark up and write on. Have a list of questions prepared for the lawyer. This will allow the lawyer to quickly go directly to the sections of the document where you have concerns.
During the paid consultation you will receive valuable, specific advice as to how you should proceed. In many cases, the information you receive during the paid consultation could save you thousands of dollars by helping you avoid a costly mistake. A simple clause added or omitted from a commercial lease could cost the tenant hundreds of thousands of dollars over the lease term. A single sentence omitted or added to a marital agreement could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars when dealing with spousal support or retirement. Not hiring a lawyer to review a document before you sign it could become the biggest mistake of your life.
The Lawyers at John W. Lee, PC offer a Free Consultation to clients who wish to retain counsel for the following matters:
- Filing Bankruptcy
- Filing Divorce
- Traffic Tickets
- Last Will & Testament
- Criminal Defense
- Establishing an Estate Plan
- Gun Rights
- Medical Directive