Yes, we charge for consultations. It’s $400 for about an hour of an attorney’s time. We are very upfront about it, but still, we get a lot of people who don’t want to pay for their initial consultation. There are some very good reasons why Meehle & Jay charges for a consult.
BUT FIRST, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO GET OUT OF YOUR INITIAL CONSULT WITH A LAWYER?
Do you want legal advice specific to starting or running your business? An opinion about a contract you’d like us to review? Or do you want to get answers about entertainment law, immigration, or intellectual property? Regardless of what you want from that meeting, you don’t want it to be just a “getting to know you” session. An initial consultation with us is more than a fact-finding mission. It’s a collaborative session with you and the lawyer actually starting to work on your matter. We answer questions and educate you on the law as it relates to your business’s specific situation. So why do we charge for an initial consultation?
YOU GET OUR TIME AND KNOW-HOW.
First and foremost, you should expect to pay for the time you spend with a lawyer getting their opinion on your business’s legal situation. We spent three years in graduate school to become a lawyer and pass the bar exam, and collectively we have been practicing for over two decades. Our work product isn’t just the contracts we draft or the time we spend on your matter. It’s the application of what we know to your legal issues. Since you get that from us even in an initial consultation, it isn’t given away for free.
YOU GET OUR UNDIVIDED ATTENTION.
If we are taking the time to work on your matter, even for that initial consultation, then we are not working on someone else’s matter during that time. It’s just you and the attorney and your legal needs. We are working on your problems, setting up your business, drafting your agreements. That’s time and money well-spent.
GIVING AWAY OUR SERVICES IS LIKE ASKING SOMEONE ELSE TO PAY FOR THEM.
You probably wouldn’t think of it this way, but we have to. If the time we spend on someone’s legal matter is how we make a living, then our time is valuable. When we give away a service for free, we are asking someone else – another client – to pay for the time we spend on the “free” matter. Yes, there’s the possibility you may hire us in the future, but we can’t afford to give away that time. You wouldn’t want to pay for someone else’s consultation in the form of higher fees, would you? Didn’t think so.
BUSINESS & ENTERTAINMENT LAW DO NOT LEND THEMSELVES TO ‘FREE’ CONSULTATIONS.
We know you’ve seen the ads on TV from personal injury and bankruptcy lawyers offering free consultations. That’s because most of the time you meet first with a case manager who assesses your situation. A determination is made whether or not you have a case that will make money for the firm well before you meet with an attorney. Those areas of law (and a few others) are better suited to the free consultation because you don’t spend as much time with the lawyer and you don’t get a lot of legal advice in that initial consultation. Business law and entertainment law, on the other hand, pretty much require that you meet with the lawyer right off the bat, and that means paying for their time.
IT KEEPS AWAY THE TIRE KICKERS.
There are a lot of people who can’t afford or don’t want to pay for legal services, or who think that having Google is a substitute for 20+ years in the legal profession. They “just” want to talk to the lawyer and ask a quick question (or ten). They aren’t serious enough about their legal issues to hire a lawyer – they’d rather try to save a few bucks by doing it themselves. With no intention of hiring a lawyer, they waste our time and resources that are better spent on your matter – for our paying clients.
IT’S ONLY FAIR.
Finally, we charge for consultations because it is fair. Our clients are business owners, entertainers, artists, and creatives all trying to make a living, and your customers expect to pay for the goods and services they buy from you. You are not in the business of giving discounts or free samples. Our law firm is our business. It’s not a hobby. It puts food on our tables, and it’s fair to charge for our time.
So now you know. If you’d like to schedule your initial consultation, contact us!
Carlos Carbonell, CEO, Echo Interaction Group
Rob Henlon, Fierce Entertainment
Michelle Widmer, Founder & Director of Events, The Empress Table
Rodney E. Luke, President, Luke Brothers Custom Homes