In your search for a lawyer or for legal information or advice, you have probably come across a large number of advertisements and websites boldly proclaiming that they offer free legal consultations.
While legal consultations are a valuable service that lawyers can provide, it is important to know what a consultation is, and what it is not.
First of all, a legal consultation is not legal representation, and should not be treated as such. A consultation, by itself, does not result in the formation of an attorney/client relationship. Also, while some lawyers offer free legal consultations, they are under no obligation to do so. Many lawyers charge for consultations, and you should be clear on any fees before going into a consultation.
A legal consultation is simply a short meeting between a lawyer and a potential client, during which the potential gives the facts of his or her case to the lawyer, and the lawyer explains the legal implications of those facts. The lawyer, based on the facts provided, will then consult the client about his or her likely options, the probable outcome if the case goes to trial, and what the case is likely to cost. At this point, it is generally up to the client to decide if an attorney/client relationship is going to be formed.
A consultation is a good opportunity to ask the lawyer questions. Anything which you think might be probative of an attorney’s ability to effectively represent you should be asked.
Legal advice is written or oral counsel about a legal issue that would have some sort of legal effect on a person's right or responsibility. Legal advice must always be given by a licensed attorney and is generally illegal for a non-lawyer or unlicensed attorney to offer of give legal advice. This is because many would use this type of advice to make decisions that could be life changing. Legal advice requires careful legal analysis of law and is differs from basic legal information since it is always based on a specific situation. Many who given legal advice that are not attorneys at law are participating in unauthorized practice of law.
Legal consultations are often given by attorneys who evaluate cases that come before them before accepting them. Legal Consultations are usually done in person or can be done over the phone. Many lawyers offer legal consultations for free before they accept the case.
Although an initial legal consultation with an attorney does not create a attorney-client relationship, everything that you tell a lawyer during a consultation would be confidential and privileged. Clients should always be open and honest with their attorney knowing that the information would be held confidential. The best type of legal consultations are the ones that are filled with important information in order for the attorney to analyze your case and determine whether he or she should accept the case.
If you have any questions regarding your case about a potential existing legal matter, you should consult an attorney as soon as possible.
Last Modified: 04-22-2018 05:59 PM PDTLaw Library Disclaimer
We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.