Interviewer: I’ve spoken to a large number of attorneys and they’ll say something like this, “Yes. The starting fee is $3000 and before I can discuss anything further, I’m going to need you come in and talk to me and all that and then we’ll go from there.” You tried ask them questions and they’re like, “Well, every case is different. I can’t give you any guarantees. You’re going to just have to come in, pay first, and then we’ll go over it.” What do you think about that kind of response, which I think is pretty common for a lot of attorneys?
Freddy: I think attorneys do that because they don’t have a lot of time. They have a lot of cases, a lot of clients a lot of things to do, a lot of demands and they don’t have a lot of time. The one way that we try to cut down on that is, number one, we offer consultation on the phone that is free.
I will say, “You can call me late in the evening. You can call me early in the morning. I’m accessible.” So, I think what I try to do, number one, is I always try to be accessible. I give everyone my cell phone number. I recognize that other people don’t do that, but I do because I have no problem answering questions.
Free Phone Consultations versus *Free In-House Consultations
The second thing I try to do is, you know, if they want to talk after work, we can speak after work. That helps them and it helps me. Maybe I’m in court, but, after 5:00, I’m not going to be in court and I think the last thing that I try to do, I try to talk to potential clients as many times as it makes them feel comfortable. Now, one thing that I don’t do and there are other attorneys, I know, who have been practicing for a long time and they don’t do, after while, that is I don’t give free in-office consultations.
If you come to my office, it is because, number one, you’ve already retained us, either over the phone, with a credit card or you made some means to come over there and make a payment or deposit or someone has called us and said to represent you. You’ve seen us in court and while I was in court, I talked to you.
But, other than that, I don’t give free in-office consultations and here’s why. I don’t think that most people expect to receive something for nothing. They understand that when they go to a doctor’s office, they have to have insurance and they have to either pay the bill or pay the co-pay. As opposed to doctors, at least we speak to you. The attorneys will speak you before they ask you for payment, whereas, doctors won’t. They’ll just ask you, “Hey, where’s your insurance card?” It’s kind of impersonal in that regard.
But, if I have a consultation with someone and they’re just not sure, after speaking to me a couple of times, then they’ll have to pay a consultation fee for that consultation and, at that point, I’ll see them and, if they do hire us, that is credited towards their retainer fee. So, they don’t lose anything for hiring us.
*Free Consultation – Disclaimer:
“The client is responsible for fines, fees and expenses in addition to the lawyer’s fee. In personal injury cases, the fee will be a percentage of the recovery and that percentage will be computed before deducting the expenses in the case.”
By Freddy Woods