Visitors to the site may have noticed that I’ve recently started charging a modest consultation fee. There are two reasons for this policy. First, it deters people from booking a consultation and then not showing up. If someone has to pay a fee in advance to reserve time, and they aren’t serious about really showing up, they will probably not book the consultation. That’s fine with me, as it leaves that block of time open for me to meet with someone else, or to work on existing client projects. If the person prepays, books the time, and doesn’t show up, that’s fine with me too. I’m compensated for the inconvenience of someone being a no-show.
The second reason relates more to a specific segment of people who do book consultations. There are people who simply want to talk to a lawyer for an hour, and who have no intention or need to pursue the relationship further. These people want information about some issue, and during the course of the consultation, I’m going to provide them with valuable information as I answer their questions. If that’s all they want and they don’t plan on hiring me for additional work, that’s fine…but I should get paid for the valuable information that I provide and the time that I spend with them. If someone just wants information for free, there’s plenty of information at this blog, and elsewhere on the internet. It just isn’t customized for any single person’s specific situation. I do this for a living, and I’m sure you understand that I can’t spend hours out of my week sitting down with people, providing valuable information for free.
The biggest impediment to my decision to charge consultation fees was the fear that the number of consultations I had would drop dramatically. That has indeed been the case – there has been a noticeable drop in the number of consultations that I conduct. I realized, however, that I should welcome this, rather than fear it. The consultations that are no longer being booked are consultations with (1) people who will most likely not show up, without canceling first, and (2) people who just want information and don’t want to pay for it.
So those are the reasons that I charge for consultations, and I hope you’ll understand and appreciate why I’ve done this.