The Difference Between a Free Consultation and Free Advice

Our office receives calls and emails from distressed workers each and every day. The problems these employees face often include workplace harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination. Some folks understandably feel like they’re at the end of their rope after years spent working with jerks.

Regardless of whether these potential clients have a case that will win millions or be dismissed by a judge, most want the same thing: an attorney to tell them what they should do.

It’s always difficult to explain to a potential client that this isn’t the kind of information that’s given out during an initial phone call with a law firm. And when we do explain this, we’re usually hit with a dejected voice asking: Don’t you offer free consultations?

Unfortunately, our office doesn’t offer free consultations (except in limited cases of extreme financial hardship). It would simply be impracticable for our firm to dedicate that amount of uncompensated time to answering the countless employment questions that flood our phones and inboxes daily.

The hard truth is that most employment firms are slammed with requests for representation, and only the strongest cases get picked. One reason for that is that many firms (including ours) take cases on a contingency basis. This means the client doesn’t pay attorney fees up front. Rather, fees are paid when their case settles or wins in court.

Continue reading this article to learn a little more about the consultation process. If you’d like our firm to review your case, give us a call.

Why Do Some Attorneys Give Free Consultations?

Bohm Law Group LogoMany firms do offer free consultations. However, it’s important not to mistake a “free consultation” with free advice. A free consultation usually isn’t an an opportunity to pick an attorney’s brain about a particular employment issue, but more of an opportunity to just meet an attorney face-to-face for a few minutes. This gives the attorney a chance to “close the deal” and convince you to sign up as a client (kind of like a car dealer). Discussions about substantive matters related to the case are usually scheduled for a later date, once the employee has actually retained the attorney’s services. This is one reason why so many people we’ve encountered over the years express frustration about the “free consultations” they have experienced in the past.

So, what makes our consultations different? Prior to a Bohm Law Group consultation, an intake specialist (or law clerk or paralegal) conducts a brief interview with each potential client. The intake specialist works under the guidance of an attorney and is specially trained to ask about the employee’s work history. The intake specialist cannot give legal advice as they are not a lawyer. Their job is to tease out the details the attorney needs to know in order to help decide if the employee has the type of case that the firm would be interested in pursuing.

All of this means that, once an employee is approved to meet with one of our attorneys for a paid consultation, they get to sit down and speak with an attorney who has already been supplied a great deal of information about the potential case! In other words, our consultations are able to BEGIN with a fairly substantive discussion of the facts and issues that apply to your case!

But Why Can’t You Just Give Me Some Free Advice?

What most potential clients don’t immediately know (through no fault of their own) is that when it comes to matters of employment law, there are no fast answers. It could take hours to just understand the fact pattern, let alone its legal implications. And, in some instances, particularly when the employee hasn’t been terminated yet, there is very little an attorney can do to help.

For instance, our office regularly gets phone calls from folks who still have their jobs, but are suddenly being forced to work longer hours, or dealing with a demanding boss who is micromanaging their work.  Common questions they have include “What are my rights?”, or “What can I do to get my boss off my back?”

Unfortunately, the answer is often that the employee has to endure the treatment, complain in writing, find a new job, or wait until he or she is terminated before following up with an attorney again.

Contact Our Firm to Discuss the Facts of Your Case

There are also times when it makes sense to stand up and fight. This is where the value of an attorney comes into play.

If you believe you have been the victim of workplace injustice—discrimination, harassment, retaliation—contact our office to have our attorneys review the facts. As mentioned earlier in this article, advice isn’t given for free, but you may find it worth your time and effort to have an attorney review your case—particularly if our attorneys believe your employer might have violated the law.

If our firm doesn’t take your case, you should definitely follow up with other firms. If you continue to struggle to find a firm willing to represent you, it could be a sign that maybe your case isn’t so strong.

Contact the Bohm Law Group to schedule a consultation. Find out if we can help.

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