Lawyers Don’t Give Free Advice

March 14, 2022

Why Lawyers Don’t Give Free Advice

You’ve probably encountered a lawyer who wouldn’t offer free legal advice, leaving you frustrated. “It depends” or “I can’t answer without you being a client” might sound like we’re just dodging questions to squeeze money from you. But the reasons I avoid free advice are much deeper than that. So, here is why lawyers don’t give free advice

Liability: Bad Advice Has Consequences

The legal world is complex. There’s often more than one right answer, depending on the specific details of your case. If I give off-the-cuff advice without all the facts, I risk giving bad advice. That could lead to worse outcomes for you, and potentially even a lawsuit against me.

Advice Needs Context

Legal answers rarely exist in a vacuum. The best course of action depends heavily on factors like your location, the specifics of your case, and even who your opposing counsel is. If I don’t know these nuances, my advice may actively harm your situation.

Commitment Matters

There’s also the issue of commitment. When someone pays for my advice, they demonstrate they’re serious and more likely to follow through. Free advice may be taken less seriously. Investing in paid consultation ensures you’ll use my expertise to its fullest. Of course, I wouldn’t want you to pay me if I ultimately can’t represent you, which is another reason lawyers don’t give free advice.

Caveat, my Treat-loving Cat

Pictured is my cat, Caveat. He loves treats – crackers, bread, the works. He’d eat them all day long, even if they make him sick. If you asked me if you should give him a treat, I could not answer with a simple yes or no. It depends on what he’s already eaten, his recent health, and his behavior. Likewise, the type and quantity of treat matter too! If I need this much information to answer a question about my cat, imagine how much more I need to advise you on serious legal matters.

Choose Your Advisor Wisely

This isn’t to say you can’t trust anyone’s advice. But be selective about who you listen to. Not everyone has the full picture, and even experts sometimes get it wrong. My responsibility is to the clients I represent from start to finish – that’s when my advice has the context to truly help you. Before making major decisions, like those involving your house or retirement, invest in a lawyer who’ll be invested in your case. If you and your soon-to-be-ex are in agreement, then reach out to my office to see if I can help and advise you.