You’ve probably seen the phrase ‘free consultation lawyers’ thrown about lately, be that on a billboard or on TV. But have you ever stopped to think why some lawyers actually offer that service?
So, you think you might have a case, and you want to take it to court. But maybe you’re feeling put off by all those cheap, hammy adverts, and you’re wary of getting in touch with a lawyer who’s offering you a free consultation. Well, to help you make the choice that’s right for you, here’s a quick run down of what free consultation lawyers are all about.
What are free consultation lawyers?
Free consultation lawyers, believe it or not, are just like any other lawyers. There’s no qualification you need, no special license you need to get. Offering a free consultation is nothing more or less than the policy of any particular law firm. So your free consultation lawyers could work for a huge, multi-national firm or the local guys down the road from your home. It’s like if an attorney works on a percentage basis or a flat fee basis; it’s a personal choice, one which may mean that they’re more suited to working in a particular field. As for offering a free consultation, that’s most relevant to and works best in the field of personal injury.
Basically, getting a free consultation is about airing your views and getting a little bit of feedback on whether you have a genuine case. It’s not always possible to research that sort of thing online. And it’s not the kind of thing you can ask at your local bar and get a decent answer. Sure, if you’ve broken an arm at work, your buddies might convince you that you could make some money. But it’s not that simple.
Free consultations help you to get expert advice without having to actually hire a lawyer for the day. You can talk things over with a legal expert. You can get all the answers you need, and that’s great. Because why would you want to fork out money just to be told you’ve got no chance of a case?
Surely there’s some strings attached?
Believe it or not, there isn’t a catch. That isn’t to say that attorneys offer this sort of service out of the goodness of our hearts (more on that later). But that’s why you’ll always hear the words ‘no obligation’ either before or after you hear ‘free consultation’: because you won’t be signing any contract, or agreeing to any deal. During your free consultation, the attorney isn’t actually working for you, and you won’t be obliged to go ahead with the case.
If you’re required to sign anything before you go through with a free consultation, don’t bother. That isn’t a free consultation, because you’re already signing a contract. Free consultations are what you do before you choose to sign a contract and go ahead with a case. And that choice is completely yours to make.
Why do some lawyers offer free consultation, and others don’t?
It’s all about personal preference. Some lawyers find the time to offer free consultations, and some don’t. After all, we are a busy bunch.
But the main reason why some attorneys offer free consultation is that it’s a great way of advertising for new business. It’s a way of reaching out to people who might not otherwise spend the time, money or effort consulting with a lawyer if they couldn’t do so for free. But for those who do, on the off chance that they might have a case, that’s work that I couldn’t have found any other way. So it’s mutually beneficial. It’s a win-win.
Some lawyers who work on an hourly basis provide free consultations for a different reason. They know that if they can talk you around, and convince you to take the case forward, that they’ll be earning money right off the bat. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in itself, but it does lead to a perverse incentive: that attorney could try and convince you to go ahead, even if your case has absolutely no merit. Sure, they might lose the case, and get a bad review. But in the meantime, they would have basically scammed you for thousands of dollars.
That’s the good thing about working with an attorney on a no win, no fee basis- like I do. I wouldn’t ever take a case on if I knew it didn’t have genuine merit, because I don’t stand to gain a thing.
Can I get a free consultation for my case, no matter what it’s about?
Absolutely you can, but like all things, only within reason. If you call our office to say you want a free consultation for a personal injury case where you jammed a screwdriver in an electrical outlet and you want to sue a big chain store, we’ll be honest with you: you would never win, so there’s no point coming in for a free consultation. That’s just common sense, and we apply that method of screening cases whether you want a free consultation or not.
But we help clients with a whole range of cases. We fight for clients who’ve suffered car and bike accidents, slips and falls, burns and brain injuries. I’ve personally taken on cases involving nursing home abuse, dog attacks and more. If that seems like a whole host of different types of case, that’s because it is! So long as you’ve suffered a genuine personal injury, because somebody neglected their professional or personal duty, you might have a case; and no matter what the circumstances are, if you have a case, I’m happy to help.