When is a Free Consultation Really Free?

I think it is fair to say that most of us at one time have been shy to use a service that advertises “free consultation”.  Eleven years ago I had a client come into my office for his free 20-30 minute consultation.  I will name him Mr. Y.   I explained in writing and in person to Mr. Y that I would review his current situation, draw out his options, alternatives and time line.  I explained  to him at the end of the consultation I, would ask him if he had any questions.  After that I would give him a folder of information to take with him. There’s no obligation
 Most people who come into my office have spent years working hard, paying their bills on time or ahead of time. Quite a few tell me I am the first Lawyer they have ever seen. Mr. Y supported his family, built a well deserved retirement fund and planned to enjoy it.  He hit a rough patch. He was suddenly left not knowing how to think and behave.  Terminology he had heard and the rationale behind the laws seemed backwards to him and confusing.
Twenty minutes had passed and we had covered everything.  I handed him my folder and said, “It was nice to meet you.”  His reply to me was, “You said 20-30 minutes for a free consultation, I want the full 30 minutes.”  We sat in silence for ten minutes and then he got up out of his chair and walked out.

Sherry Ellis Law, PLLC