Initial Consultations

Posted by David Armstrong | Apr 28, 2022 | 0 Comments

‘Do I have a case?!' –(how about a free consultation?)

I often get calls asking for a free consultation.   It is not my practice to do so in the areas of law in which I normally work.  

I don't do this because when I am asked to answer a ‘brief question' it usually is anything but brief.  Most legal questions take more than just a couple minutes to explain, much less explain in depth and have time for a reasoned response.   It is uncommon that when I speak with someone about their problem, there is a simple ‘yes' or ‘no' waiting at the end.   As much as that may seem self-serving and not helpful to would be clients, I simply cannot answer most questions quickly nor with any degree of absolute certainty—there are just too many variables.    

My practice is to do initial consultations for one hour.  I charge for that time.   I charge because I am giving good, professional information from my years of experience and knowledge of the law.   I help those who come in for that consultation decide whether they want to proceed, and how they want to proceed.   I clear up what needs to be done, (if anything at all) whether they should be the ones to do it, and what the process looks like—in short, after a consultation, the individual is now able to make an informed decision about beginning and navigating the legal process regarding the difficulty they are facing.   

Having said that, I nearly always will speak without charge for a few minutes over the phone to anyone who calls about their case; I call it a would-be client's ‘beauty' review—they need to know if I am someone with whom they can work, or if the personalities just don't mesh at all.   If it doesn't seem to be workable, we won't move beyond that short discussion.   

About the Author

David Armstrong

J.D. University of Houston, 1995


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