April 28, 2016

The real value of free legal advice!

Lawyers are often approached by clients, friends and others seeking free legal advice.

The usual opening line is that ‘this will only take a minute’ and ‘add this to my bill for the next matter you do for me’. Well, best of luck with all of that.

It is a truism that advice is only worth what you pay for the advice.

So let’s just think about this. It’s Monday morning and you telephone your lawyer. You’re very confused and upset. You would appreciate some free legal advice.

Over the weekend you have encountered spousal turbulence or have come to the adverse attention of the police or some other event has occurred which you consider needs urgent attention.

You want an answer and you want it now – what should you do because you want things sorted out now.

What experience tells your lawyer is that whether you are in a calm or upset state of mind the issues which you have raised need to be sorted in a clear, logical and coherent way.

What experience also tells your lawyer is that the facts and circumstances which you would relate to your lawyer are going to miss the most vital point of the whole exercise. It’s a fact – unfortunately, it happens all the time.

Just imagine – you call your doctor in similar circumstances – you outline your symptoms to your doctor and let’s just consider that you miss the most important sign. The consequences for you could be very dire.

Before giving free legal advice, lawyers and other professionals are trained to get information from you – to draw on that information to decide what should be done to protect you from the matter that concerns you.

To do otherwise is not only not in your best interests but also is being unfair to your lawyer or other professional.

If you want good sound legal advice, then you should call to see your lawyer in person. If the matter is urgent, then arrangements can usually be made to see you at short notice.

Be prepared to pay for your advice – after all, good advice is always to be valued.

But above all remember this – when you pay your lawyer for his advice, you know you have a lawyer and your lawyer knows he has a client.