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Why We Charge for Divorce Initial Consultations

Why We Do Not Offer Free Consultations – And why we believe that is better for Clients

When I first started practicing law ten years ago almost every local divorce lawyer charged a consult fee.  Recently, in the age of “Google Ads” many lawyers have begun to market their free divorce consults.  So I am now often asked why our firm continues to charge $250.00 for divorce consults when plenty of others offer consults for free.  This article is going to explain why we continue to charge and will always charge for divorce consults.  It will also explain why I believe it is in the client’s best interests that we do not offer free divorce consults. 

How Long are Initial Consultations at Carl Taylor Law, LLC?

Firstly, our divorce consults are very thorough.  Our average divorce consult is about two hours long.  We go through the entire case and make sure we understand our client, the fit between client and law firm, and every angle of how the case might turn out.  It is like being measured for a bespoke suit.  You can get off the rack clothing and it will not cost nearly as much but even with available alterations it will also not fit as well.  Your divorce may prove to be the most (or one of the most) important financial decisions of your life—it should be tailored precisely. 

The famous litigator Gerry Spence once wrote that he would take all day in a consult if he had to because that was his best opportunity to get to know his client and their case inside and out.  Everything else flowed from that one meeting — the entire strategy of the case was created right then and there and the implemented in the weeks, months, and years ahead until victory in the case was achieved.

That’s the same philosophy we have at Carl Taylor Law, LLC.  That’s why although we give out a ton of free information on our website–and we even give out a free copy of our book on New Jersey divorce law to Somerset County and Hunterdon County residents, we do not provide free consults. That said, since our hourly rate exceeds $300.00 per hour our consults are still at a reduced rate. 

Consult or Sales Pitch?

We could give out a free consult that was mostly a sales pitch and did not last very long, but we believe in first and foremost providing great value.  There is a difference between value and cheap, in fact there is sometimes no correlation at all. Our firm is expensive but we hope to provide great value–value above and beyond the cost. We believe that sometimes there is more value in paying $250.00 for an extensive consult than there is in a much shorter, less informative but free consult that could mostly be a sales pitch.

We also want to vet the proper clients.  Our firm is all about empowering our clients to take a large role in their own case.  We do not view ourselves as a commodity and do not wish for our clients to view us as one either.  We do not want to work with those seeking the “lowest bidder.”  We believe that sometimes you get what you pay for. 

Do You Get What You Pay For?

We also subscribe to the old adage of there being no “free lunch.” As noted below, we do not want to place prospective clients above current clients. We strive to be the best at our jobs we can be and we strive to provide great value even if our firm is expensive.  We also seek to work with sophisticated clients on important matters. That does not always mean the case has to have a high net worth, but it does mean that we want to work with those that are engaged in the process, understand what is at stake, and willing to work as a team in their best interests.

Moreover, we do not view it as fair to our other clients if we spend time giving out free consults.  Our overhead remains the same and we would have to get that money back somehow.  We would likely have to do so by charging more per hour to our actual clients.  We do not want potential tire-kickers seeking free legal advice to be subsidized by our actual loyal clients.  To us it is a simple business decision: always put your current clients first.  

By being willing to invest around two hours and $250.00 we ensure that prospective clients are serious about their case and about our firm. We also cut down on clients that may be attempting to meet with every divorce firm in town to inappropriately conflict out the better divorce firms. At least by charging $250.00 we are placing a cost on those attempting to engage in such inappropriate behavior.

Is a Free Consult or a Paid Consult Right for You?

Only you can decide whether it is worth the investment of time and money to meet with us for a divorce consultation. We admit freely that there are plenty of firms offering free consultations. We just know that for our firm we feel it is best for our clients, our prospective clients, and our firm if we operate under the model of charging $250.00 for a divorce consultation fee. If you are ready to make the commitment to scheduling a divorce consult with us you can contact us at 908-237-3096 or you can schedule below using our self-schedule feature.

We will provide you with our sincerest attention, a free copy of our book, and a roadmap for your case at our consult. We look forward to meeting you and learning about you and your case.

Carl Taylor Law – Future Lawyer Scholarship 2019

Carl Taylor Law – Future Lawyer Scholarship

This year our firm offered a $500.00 scholarship to one graduating high school senior from each of the Hunterdon County public high schools. The “Carl Taylor Law – Future Lawyer Scholarship” was a success and was bestowed upon some very worthy future lawyers this year. 

I had the opportunity to recently attend the Delaware Valley Regional High School Senior Award Ceremony to give out our scholarship personally and it was a great event. A lot of great local future leaders out there! 

Sometimes the law is looked down upon by people and lawyers sometimes are seen as parasitic or money-hungry. This is a shame because almost everyone I know that went to law school did so with the best of intentions. To be fair, there are all types of lawyers (just like there are all types of police officers, all types of teachers, all types of doctors and so on), but for some reason lawyers are singled out in our society.

That is one of the reasons why our firm gives back to the local community. We love our local community and we want people to view lawyers in a better light. That is also why we give out so much free information, including our pledge to give out a free copy of my book to any resident of Hunterdon or Somerset County in New Jersey.

In their essays, the recipients of the Carl Taylor Law – Future Lawyer Scholarship all spoke about service to the community, giving back, and making a positive difference in the world. Like most of the people I know that pursued law school, there was a sense of idealism. Hopefully the law will not take that away from them and they can continue to change the conversation about what it means to be a lawyer.

I chose to provide this scholarship to each of the local public high schools because public education is very important to me. My wife works as an administrator in public schools providing leadership in the important field of special education. Both of my parents worked and retired from long jobs in the public school system–my father as a custodian and my mother a secretary. My wife and I send our children to local public schools and they will eventually attend Central Hunterdon Regional High School. Finally, as a child of limited means but some ambition I would have never been able to pursue my dream of being a lawyer if it were not for public education (as well as scholarships for college).

Our firm was thus honored to be a small part of giving back to the local community and helping future local leaders.

Also, one of our prior year recipients recently graduated from Georgetown Law School so it’s neat to see things come full circle.

If you are reading this and you have an interest in also contributing to local high schools for graduating senior scholarships all you need to do is contact their guidance department and offer your assistance. They will be more than happy to assist you.

Carl Taylor Law – Divorce Mediation

Carl Taylor Law, LLC – Now Offering Divorce Mediation Services at our Comfortable Flemington, NJ Office

Our firm is proud to announce that we are now offering divorce mediation services. New partner Lisa Stein-Browning, Esq., has been building a divorce mediation practice for years along with her collaborative law and divorce and family law litigation practices.

Likewise, firm principle Carl Taylor, Esq., recently completed divorce mediation and is now also accepting matters as a divorce mediator as well as continuing his primary focus of divorce and family law litigation.

With the addition of Ms. Browning, Esq., the firm can now provide dynamic services in just about any type of New Jersey divorce or family law matter, including mediation, collaborative law, standard litigation, or arbitration.

Divorce mediation is a process where both parties (either with or without their attorneys present) meet with a neutral mediator who will attempt to assist them in amicably resolving their case. Under New Jersey rules the mediator cannot represent (or have previously consulted with or represented) either party to the matter. Divorce lawyers such as Ms. Browning, Esq., and Mr. Taylor, Esq., make good mediators as they are familiar with the law and the likely outcomes of a case.

To receive the designation of trained divorce mediator, Mr. Taylor, Esq., recently completed the 44.4 hour course “Family Mediation Training,” through the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education; a course which Ms. Browning, Esq., previously completed.

Although somewhat outside of the traditional legal system, New Jersey Divorce Mediation must be consistent with the Uniform Mediation Act of New Jersey (2004).

We look forward to continuing to work on behalf of clients and we also look forward to helping those in need of settlement with divorce mediation services.