It is a source of constant surprise the number, and type, of persons who contact me looking for free legal advice. The approach can be made in any number of channels of communication to me: phone, email, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube.
I do not believe my response to such approaches is overly mercenary or greedy. It is that I do this dispensing of legal advice thing for a living and the questioner must arrange a consultation and pay.
Some may view this as a harsh, puritanical response. But I do believe that anyone who does a thing to provide bread for themselves and their loved ones is entitled to compensation for the sweat of their brow, their experience, knowledge, professional training, and any other form of value that the questioner recognises.
To enter on the question from a different angle I do not walk into Supervalu in Enfield and ask for a nice sirloin steak and expect not to pay; I do not fill my car with fuel in a petrol station and expect the owner/manager to say, “by all means, help yourself and don’t worry about payment”.
There is a further argument as to why I would not give free legal advice: I can leave myself open to a professional negligence and/or breach of contract claim. Notwithstanding that I have not charged for the service/advice I am still a solicitor and a person will claim that they are entitled to rely on my advice and any damage or loss arising as a result of my negligence must see me being held liable.
Therefore, it makes absolutely no sense for me, or any professional, to provide free advice. If others choose to do so, good for them. That is their decision.
But it is not mine.
So please do not contact me to give me the “have a quick chat”, “run a question past me”, “you will find this interesting”, “just a quick question” spiel.
Because a refusal can offend.