Why We Offer Complimentary Initial Consultations | Calkins Law

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The old adage that "nothing in life is free" is a basic truism that's hard to argue with. But every now and then, complimentary really doesn't come with strings attached. That's true when it comes to Calkins Law Firm's initial consultations. But it turns out that this practice stirs up some strong opinions.

We have been told time and again by law firm consultants and other supposed experts that we absolutely need to charge for initial consultations with prospective clients. According to their logic, we'll end up spending our valuable time again and again without recompense. They lament that we will dedicate time to prospects who are either not serious or to those who can't or won't pay for our time. These experts will also suggest what they consider to be a reasonable fee, telling us to require prospective clients to bring at least $500 to the initial consultation. Otherwise, they say we're just giving our expertise away to prospects who will take our advice and run. 

Instead of following the consultants' advice, we have chosen to spend many hours per week giving prospective clients complimentary initial consultations. We review their particular situations and advise them of their options. We also share our recommendations as to the course of action that they should pursue. 

Why do we go to the lengths that others make out to be such trouble and a waste? Because, stated simply, that is what we would expect an attorney to do for us. If we were a prospective client considering whether to retain a law firm, we'd deeply appreciate the courtesy that we extend to our prospects. And when a relationship is built on mutual respect and understanding from the beginning, it's naturally going to be stronger.

Besides, retaining a law firm is an important decision - it shouldn't be taken lightly. Choosing the right firm can be absolutely critical to the success or failure of a project. Clients need their attorneys to really understand them and their situation. But depending on the potential client, if they've already invested $500, they might reason that they're committed to retaining the firm, based on that point alone. 

That's why, in every case, we prefer to first give prospective clients a relatively generous and informed preliminary assessment of their situation. We'll also share how we would go about addressing it. And that's all before we ever make a proposal for their consideration or expect them to be in a position to decide whether to even retain a law firm.

Frankly, if the prospective client doesn't appreciate our analysis and our recommended approach,  we don't expect them to retain us. In that circumstance, it might be just as well that they decide to follow a different path. If the matter ends up being a situation that we wouldn't recommend pursuing, we aren't sacrificing much anyway. 

Contrary to common opinion, we will never charge for initial consultations. Instead, we give freely of our time in the process. And yes, that course goes against all of the so-called experts rather deliberately. But here's why we'll choose this route every time: eyes wide open is the only way we would retain a law firm and the only way we would expect a prospective client to do so. Should a potential client decide to retain us, we prefer it to be due to our approach and their genuine desire to work with us. In the end, our decision to keep consultations complimentary makes for all-around better client-lawyer relations and puts everyone on even footing.

If you are looking for honest, communicative, and hard-working legal help, consider Calkins Law Firm. From the initial consultation, we're always looking out for our client's interests. Reach out to learn more about our team and how we can help you - get in touch today!

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Benjamin Calkins

Benjamin Calkins

Ben Calkins is a well-educated, top-rated, and highly experienced business law attorney.

Ben Calkins is an honors graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School. After law school, he clerked for a Federal Judge before joining one of the World’s largest law firms, Squire, Sanders & Dempsey. Mr. Calkins has also worked at, and been a partner in, several of the most prominent “old style law firms” in the World.