No such thing as free consultations

No Such Thing as a "Free" Consultation

People often get exactly what they pay for. This is as true in law as it is in life. If you believe that you have been wrongfully dismissed, there may be a reason to pause before proceeding with a “free” consultation with a lawyer.

All too often, we have clients that come to us seeking a second opinion following a complimentary session with another lawyer. Clients often submit an online inquiry or summary of their matter to firms offering free consultations. They may receive a swift response providing an “opinion” that they have been wrongfully dismissed. The problem, however, is that without reviewing all of the details, these opinions can be wrong.

Clients may then go on to book a paid follow-up consultation and be charged for the time required to actually review the client’s file and prepare a demand letter. At this time, the true facts of the case come to light, and clients that were told they had an excellent case may be unhappy to learn that their entitlements were limited from the get-go. 

By this time, the lawyer has performed hours of work that is now worthless to the client. In these instances, the client may end up being billed significantly more than a typical consult for an issue that should have been caught right away. In other words, free consultations may become something much more expensive.

Most provincial law societies, which are regulatory bodies that oversee lawyers’ conduct, caution lawyers against providing summary opinions without having properly assessed the facts. This is because unsuspecting clients may rely on the advice they were given, however flawed, and take steps that mistakenly prejudice their own case without the lawyer’s involvement.

What should employees do? Avoid free consultations or legal advice provided over the Internet, however tempting that may be. Don’t work with lawyers who simply dabble in employment law. Ensure you understand how you will be billed for the lawyer’s time.

Whitten & Lublin’s legal team can provide insight and advice into your specific circumstances. If you are looking for employment lawyers and would like more information about what Whitten & Lublin can do for you, please contact us online or by phone at (416) 640-2667 today.