Free Legal Consultations and Advice: Getting What You Pay For
Free legal consultations: Do they have value? Many people, when looking for a Calgary lawyer, will look for a “free legal consultation”. We are often asked, “do you provide the first hour free?”, “Is the first lawyer meeting free?” or “I just want some free legal advice”. The question becomes, is seeing a lawyer for a free legal consultation worthwhile. Certainly it costs you nothing, except time but you may be no further ahead. The following are some insights into why you may want to steer clear of free legal consultations or initial lawyer meetings. Consultation help at Kahane Law office in Calgary, Alberta 403-225-8810.
Free Legal Consultations Vs. Legal Opinions
A free legal consultation is a quick, usually 20-30 minutes, meeting where you tell the lawyer your situation and the lawyer will let you know if she or he can represent you or not. It will also be the chance for the lawyer to have you sign a retainer agreement. A legal opinion is a review of your situation and a discussion that gives you your legal position on a matter. With a legal opinion, you will be in a position to make an informed choice. Legal opinions give you your options and the consequences and rights you get under your different options. Remember do you get what you pay for!
What We Do For Free
What Kahane Law Office can do for free is let you know if we can act for you. In most cases, we can help but we do need to perform a conflict search. We will also let you know if it is an area of law that we are able to assist with. You do not need to schedule a free legal consultation to find out if we can help you. Usually a quick email with the details of your matter where you give us a brief description of your legal problem will let us know if we can act for you or not. This saves you time compared to free legal consultations where you go to an office to find out if the lawyer can help you or not. If it is a matter where we are able to give you legal advice, we can then schedule a proper meeting. Reviewing your whole case/matter, supporting evidence and giving you a legal opinion, your options and the potential outcomes of those options, is not a free service. Such an evaluation is billed hourly, or flat rate for some matters, and is the process needed for you to make an informed decision.
Economic Reality of Free Lawyer Meetings
Without regard to profession, service or sales, giving away a product, such as free legal services, or free legal consultations is not an economically viable business approach. The lawyer who is giving free advice still has to pay rent, staff, utilities and feed her or his family. Most lawyers sell time. They provide legal services and bill for the time it takes to render those services. A business cannot operate unless it generates revenue. Given that there is only so much time in the day, giving away free legal consultations does not fit a economic model for a business. It can be very expensive to undo bad legal choices.
What do You Get at Free Initial Lawyer Meetings
The single largest benefit of a free legal consultation is a chance for you to vent. You may, and should, get a tidbit of information but most matters that people call about for a free legal consultation, will require hiring a lawyer. Lawyers know that some people will go to 3-4 lawyers for free legal consultations in the hopes of not having to pay for any services. Ironically, they are hoping the lawyers will want to invest in their issue more than they are willing to invest in themselves.
Getting the Most of Your Legal Consultation / Opinion
When you pay for a legal consultation or legal opinion, you want to make the most of your time. There are some things that you should bring with you so that your lawyer has what they need to give you an opinion. In 30 minute free legal consultations, this just cannot happen. These include:
All materials, court orders, e-mails, agreements
No one remembers all the specific details of all their documentation. In law, specific language is extremely important. Be sure that you bring everything. Also, remember to bring the final signed versions or court stamped versions of documents since even small changes (the addition of the three letter word “not”) can make a huge difference.
Write down your questions
Writing down your questions in advance does two things. It allows you to think things through better so that you have a better idea of what you want to accomplish. Writing down your questions also allows you to make sure all your concerns are addressed.
Bring a friend or family member
If you are exceptionally stressed then consider bringing a family member. You want to make sure that someone is absorbing (or even writing down) what is being told and can be there to help you remember information after the fact. As a consideration you should ask the lawyer if it is okay in advance. There may be practical or legal reasons as to why particular people should not be there.
Where to Get Free Legal Information
If you want free legal information, please watch our videos. While not a free legal consultation, there are over 140 videos on a variety of legal subjects all free. More are added each week. With over 30,000 views, people find them helpful. Find free legal information here.
Getting the Help You Need
Kahane Law Office is a full service law firm. The Calgary lawyers at Kahane Law Office can help. While we do not offer free legal consultations we do offer exceptional value. If you need help call today. Call 403-225-8810 or email today to contact us.