When I first started practicing law ten years ago almost every local divorce lawyer charged a consult fee. Recently, in the age of “Google Ads” many lawyers have begun to market their free divorce consults. So I am now often asked why our firm continues to charge $250.00 for divorce consults when plenty of others offer consults for free. This article is going to explain why we continue to charge and will always charge for divorce consults. It will also explain why I believe it is in the client’s best interests that we do not offer free divorce consults.
How Long are Initial Consultations at Carl Taylor Law, LLC?
Firstly, our divorce consults are very thorough. Our average divorce consult is about two hours long. We go through the entire case and make sure we understand our client, the fit between client and law firm, and every angle of how the case might turn out. It is like being measured for a bespoke suit. You can get off the rack clothing and it will not cost nearly as much but even with available alterations it will also not fit as well. Your divorce may prove to be the most (or one of the most) important financial decisions of your life—it should be tailored precisely.
The famous litigator Gerry Spence once wrote that he would take all day in a consult if he had to because that was his best opportunity to get to know his client and their case inside and out. Everything else flowed from that one meeting — the entire strategy of the case was created right then and there and the implemented in the weeks, months, and years ahead until victory in the case was achieved.
That’s the same philosophy we have at Carl Taylor Law, LLC. That’s why although we give out a ton of free information on our website–and we even give out a free copy of our book on New Jersey divorce law to Somerset County and Hunterdon County residents, we do not provide free consults. That said, since our hourly rate exceeds $300.00 per hour our consults are still at a reduced rate.
Consult or Sales Pitch?
We could give out a free consult that was mostly a sales pitch and did not last very long, but we believe in first and foremost providing great value. There is a difference between value and cheap, in fact there is sometimes no correlation at all. Our firm is expensive but we hope to provide great value–value above and beyond the cost. We believe that sometimes there is more value in paying $250.00 for an extensive consult than there is in a much shorter, less informative but free consult that could mostly be a sales pitch.
We also want to vet the proper clients. Our firm is all about empowering our clients to take a large role in their own case. We do not view ourselves as a commodity and do not wish for our clients to view us as one either. We do not want to work with those seeking the “lowest bidder.” We believe that sometimes you get what you pay for.
Do You Get What You Pay For?
We also subscribe to the old adage of there being no “free lunch.” As noted below, we do not want to place prospective clients above current clients. We strive to be the best at our jobs we can be and we strive to provide great value even if our firm is expensive. We also seek to work with sophisticated clients on important matters. That does not always mean the case has to have a high net worth, but it does mean that we want to work with those that are engaged in the process, understand what is at stake, and willing to work as a team in their best interests.
Moreover, we do not view it as fair to our other clients if we spend time giving out free consults. Our overhead remains the same and we would have to get that money back somehow. We would likely have to do so by charging more per hour to our actual clients. We do not want potential tire-kickers seeking free legal advice to be subsidized by our actual loyal clients. To us it is a simple business decision: always put your current clients first.
By being willing to invest around two hours and $250.00 we ensure that prospective clients are serious about their case and about our firm. We also cut down on clients that may be attempting to meet with every divorce firm in town to inappropriately conflict out the better divorce firms. At least by charging $250.00 we are placing a cost on those attempting to engage in such inappropriate behavior.
Is a Free Consult or a Paid Consult Right for You?
Only you can decide whether it is worth the investment of time and money to meet with us for a divorce consultation. We admit freely that there are plenty of firms offering free consultations. We just know that for our firm we feel it is best for our clients, our prospective clients, and our firm if we operate under the model of charging $250.00 for a divorce consultation fee. If you are ready to make the commitment to scheduling a divorce consult with us you can contact us at 908-237-3096 or you can schedule below using our self-schedule feature.
We will provide you with our sincerest attention, a free copy of our book, and a roadmap for your case at our consult. We look forward to meeting you and learning about you and your case.