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What Is the Definition of a "Free Consultation"?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing free consultation, the notion of free consultation. I have had a lot of really negative feedback to the point of some really hateful emails in the past 6 months or so regarding the notion of a free consultation. Let me be real clear here. I actually was thinking about making a video that said "No more free consultations." I don't really want to go down that road but I am trying to make this video so that people can understand what a free consultation is. Let me go further with that and say what my definition of a free consultation is and how that operates.

I get all these emails and this is from people that we have been in correspondence with and they will say "well, this is what it should be. I expect a free consultation to be this."  Well that is great. You are not me. I have a caseload to deal with. I have other paying clients I have to deal with and I have only so much time. My staff assist me in getting correspondence out with respect to free consultation, the information that we provide so often times it will be over the signature of our information desk because my staff is assisting me but the information is coming from us and the legal team with respect to how we can assist with something which brings me to the next point. Not only is it my definition of a free consultation but the crux of a free consultation is whether or not we can do anything for you. Okay let's just presume that right there. That is the starting point; can we assist "yes or no". As strange as it sounds, and folks ask me this all the time. We get a lot of emails people thinking we are the US Embassy; folks thinking we are Thai Immigration, that we are government offices of many different kinds and we have to explain to them that that is not the case. Meanwhile we also get inquiries from folks who basically what they want us to assist with is not within our bailiwick; we don't assist with those things. Oftentimes I see this with respect to for example UK Immigration, or European Immigration or Immigration to other parts of the Commonwealth, English-speaking nations like Australia, again that is just not part of what I particularly can assist with. We have had other service providers in our firm in times past that could provide some assistance and insight into that. Presently not really but if you contact us and we can't do something we will tell you that. Again, part and parcel of the free consultation is "can we assist with that?" If we can't, often times we can refer you to someone who can. If that is not possible we are just going to say "hey look, that is not something we can do. We don't know anybody that can assist with that. Sorry. Good luck to you and we hope you have a good day."  

What a free consultation isn't in my mind is a doctoral dissertation on the exact parameters of your case; how exactly we are going to handle it, and every little thing in between, from start to finish. Unfortunately we just simply don't have the time and resources to provide that information out of the gate. Also quite frankly, opinions are not a consultation. Legal opinions are at the end of the day what Attorneys provide; that is what we do. So information about "can we assist, some general information about the who's, what's and how we can assist" yeah that's in there in a free consultation but an opinion about exactly everything associated with your case, no we need to start talking about services, quoting fees etc. when it comes to that type of thing.

So again, I am hoping this is last video I have to make on this. I haven't really wanted to address this but I have felt, especially the past couple of weeks we have seen some real vitriol coming at us about how we need to be doing more with respect to the parameters of our free consultation. I am not going to get into the nuts and bolts of what has been said on some of the correspondence we have gotten on that but long story short, it is a free consultation but it is not a doctoral dissertation on your case. It is simply "can we assist with this? Some basic information as to what we can do and then go from there and we will figure it out how best we can". Again it is not an opinion. Opinions on cases are a different thing. Opinions with respect to all the permutations of possible solutions and pitfalls associated with the case, I can't deal with that in a free consultation. As I said earlier in the video, I seriously considered making a video where I said "look there are just no more free consultations," and I would make that not in an effort to be blunt or to be short with people or dismissive, it is more from the standpoint of, I was watching another video on YouTube. It is from a really good YouTuber. I like watching him from time to time; a guy named Rebel Capitalist, just throwing him out there. He didn't have anything to do with this at all. He mentioned something. He was talking about when he set up a business and he had a refund policy. He said "no refunds after 90 days" and people started coming to him 92 days, 93 days and they would explain themselves and he started giving them a refund and he found himself getting to the point where he said "Look I am now adjudicating whether or not someone deserves a refund. That is not what I want to be involved in." So he just set a hard and fast rule at 90 days. 

Legal Service is not any other type of business; it is what it is. We want to continue to provide free consultation but understand, we are not trying to give an inch and have a mile be taken. That is not how this really works and it can't work that way. We can't operate that way. At the same time, I am not trying to play God and decide who deserves how much information. That is again not what we are doing. I am trying to find a happy medium in there where we can provide some insight to folks in how we can assist them and then let them know the steps in order to proceed with us. If they decide not to use us, that is fine. Use somebody else. Make sure they are qualified, there are a lot of fakes out there but if you don't want to use us, okay. That said, I get some of these emails where it is like 20 part questions with sub questions and things in there. That is beyond the parameters of a free consultation, we just can't do that. 

So hopefully this video, I am hoping to try and meet the public half way on this. We are out here, we are willing to provide some insight to folks at no charge but there are limits to the parameters of that type of consultation, namely that free consultation.