What are the benefits to scheduling a paid vs. free divorce consultation?
Our Pittsburgh family law office conducts two types of paid consultations – abbreviated 30 minute consultations costing $150 for those with only a few legal questions or comprehensive consultations lasting approximately 1 1/2 hours costing $400 for those people that need more assistance in learning about their legal rights. With either the abbreviated or comprehensive consultation, our office is able to discuss the specific facts of your family law case including the different strategies for male and female clients; the likely results in any future divorce case, equitable distribution, child support, spousal support, child custody or other case and the impact of certain situations including adultery, use of drugs or alcohol, or other indiscretions on the part of either family court litigant.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “you get what you pay for”?
Some Allegheny County family law firms offer free consultations and you may be tempted to schedule an appointment with a Pittsburgh divorce attorney that offers free legal advice. The reality is that the way that family law lawyers earn a living is by charging for their advice and their time. A lawyer’s time and advice is what we sell after spending 4 years in college and 3 or 4 years in law school to receive our law degree. So, if a family law attorney gives away for free what they normally charge for, that lawyer generally must make up the money they lost for that free time in some other way.
Sometimes, that Pittsburgh family lawyer may make up the lost revenue from a free consultation by charging a higher hourly rate once they are retained by a client. Other times, the Allegheny County divorce lawyer may make up the lost revenue from providing free legal advice by agreeing to take a case when the lawyer knows or should know that the client’s desired course of action is really not in their best legal interests or that their expectations are not realistic given the law or set of facts. In other situations, the free appointment by the Pittsburgh family law firm may be limited to the lawyer “selling” you on their services instead of listening to your problems and offering advice. Even worse is when the free consultation is with a paralegal or other staff member and you never get to meet the person who is supposed to be performing your legal work.
When scheduling a consultation with a lawyer, you should ask:
Will I meet with an attorney or paralegal during my consultation?
How long has the attorney that I will meet with been practicing family law? (Not just how long have they been practicing law!)
What percent of the attorney’s work is in the family law area?
How much trial experience does the attorney have if my case doesn’t settle by an agreement? Further, is that trial experience in my particular problem area, i.e. property distribution, support, or child custody? And, when was their last trial?
How much time is allotted for my consultation?
Will I be allowed to fully explain my problems?
Will the attorney offer me specific legal advice on how they will resolve my issues?
Will the attorney tell me if it is not best for me to file an action or proceed in the manner that I intend to take?
Will my consultation be attorney-client privileged if I do not hire the attorney?
If I do not hire the attorney, is the opposing party free to consult with or hire the attorney?
When our law firm charges you for our initial consultations, you can be assured that you will meet with an experienced PA family law attorney and leave the office with an understanding of Pennsylvania family laws and how it applies to your specific set of facts. You can also be assured that the advice you receive at the consultation is based upon your best interests and not our need to recoup lost revenue from a free consultation.
Another benefit to our law firm’s paid consultation is that all matters discussed are completely confidential and protected by the attorney-client privilege. At no time in the future would our office be permitted to consult with or represent the opposing party in a family law matter or to divulge your confidential information to anyone.
Contact our Pittsburgh divorce lawyers to learn about your best interests in a family law case. When scheduling a consultation, please inform the secretary if there are any pending hearings, deadlines for filing an appeal, or other reason why you may need an immediate appointment. We will do our very best to accommodate your schedule in setting an appointment.