“She seemed perfectly nice. I liked her, but something didn't feel right,” said our new client, referring to the lawyer from another firm that she'd met for a free consultation.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“I couldn't understand why she met with me for free. The good lawyers all charge for their consultations,” she explained. “I need the best, and I figured she probably wasn't it,” she went on.
As I probed a bit more, I discovered that the free lawyer had given some good advice. She helped the client feel better and gave her some information she needed.
However, the free lawyer didn't get the client. She didn't get paid for her time in the consultation. She got nothing, and it was all because the client, a woman of means, didn't trust the lawyer giving away her expertise for free. She didn't trust her specifically because the advice was free.
Lots of people decide how good you are based on what you charge. For many of us, free is worth exactly what it costs.