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To wish people would stop telling posters they are "entitled to 30 mins free legal advice"

28 replies

PetraDelphiki · 17/07/2015 18:54

Because you are not. SOME law firms might offer a 30 min chat for free to try to entice you in, but there is no entitlement to anything, any more than there is an entitlement to 30 mins free haircut, or massage, or physiotherapy, or accountancy, or music lesson or ANYTHING!

A good law firm will have a chat about what you want first before you agree to engage them, but that's not the same as free legal advice!


OP posts:
InTheBox · 17/07/2015 19:00

I don't know if it is or isn't a legal entitlement but I presume that CAB is a free service? And there is some sort of legal aid available depending on circumstances?
Having said that, the Relationships board has really altered my views on relationships/marriage.

JustinsBeaver · 17/07/2015 19:06

It's become a stock answer on here;

'Go and get an hour/30 mins legal advice before you do anything'

While it's nice to get free things, it's not like a doctors appointment the solicitor doesn't get paid, so really it's just wasting their time.

MuffMuffTweetAndDave · 17/07/2015 19:11

CABs are free, yes. But they don't necessarily offer legal advice and if they do, it'll be on a limited range of subjects, in limited circumstances, to people on very low incomes. Because of legal aid cuts.

Yanbu OP. The unpalatable truth is if you want legal advice, you probably need to pay for it.

needsomefeckingprivacy · 17/07/2015 19:13

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ProfYaffle · 17/07/2015 19:14

CAB is a charity, it's run on a franchise type basis where some branches will offer legal advice - some won't. Those that do depend on local solicitors offering pro bono services, it's entirely separate to the legal aid system. Eg our branch gets one hour a month offered in 15 min appointments.

dixiechick1975 · 17/07/2015 19:14


PushPineappleShakeTheTree · 17/07/2015 19:17

YANBU, I think the same thing whenever someone posts that.

Theycallmemellowjello · 17/07/2015 19:17

I've never read that advice on here! But obviously while there isn't an entitlement I don't think it's a bad idea advising some people to seek legal advice. IMO some people post looking for advice on here out of desperation when they would be better off just consulting a solicitor and would be able to get a cfa or similar arrangement.

Mrsmorton · 17/07/2015 19:18

Totally NBU

Lots of "barrack room lawyers" on MN who have vast knowledge of these matters. Hmm

fastdaytears · 17/07/2015 19:18

Can I be the first to say that free advice is worth what you paid for it (sorry so annoying!). I'm a solicitor and I'll happily chat on the phone or face to face with new clients without charging them but it's only for the purposes of establishing that I can help them and making sure they don't find me really annoying before they sign up. If you want legal advice that's specific to you and that you can rely on (ie sue the lawyer if they cock up) then you'll get charged for that. If you want general principals then you might be fine in a free 30 minute interview but equally you could google it...

FluffyMcnuffy · 17/07/2015 19:19


I work in law and I don't know any solicitors that offer 30 mins free legal advice Hmm.

FluffyMcnuffy · 17/07/2015 19:21

fast is so right. Solicitors will chat to you to establish the facts and see if they can help you (which in divorce they invariably can), but they don't start doling out what assets your entitled to unless you stump up!

NeedsAsockamnesty · 17/07/2015 19:21

Many services exist that offer free legal advice usually over the phone and relevant to limited topics.

Many charitable trusts or paid for services include free legal advice as one of their bonuses.

The free 30 minutes actual legal firm offer no longer exists as it used to. Even the firms that claim to offer 30 mins free often just use it to take details then sell you the advice at a further appointment

Rathalie · 17/07/2015 19:22

Hear hear! I will do the first 30mins free if asked, but 30 mins is really only long enough to get a basic idea of the problem and perhaps make some preliminary suggestions. (Which I can get sued for, even if you don't pay me. Gulp.) I try to avoid doing it because free legal advice doesn't help me meet my feed target, so if I see a client for free, it's basically my own time I'm using not the firm's.

fastdaytears · 17/07/2015 19:24

Rathalie my feed target is smashed today thanks to all the cake in the kitchen...

Georgethesecond · 17/07/2015 19:27

And CaB are now very underfunded as councils (who give them most of their funding) have had their budgets cut so much. Family law is not seen as a priority. I work for the largest CAB in the country. The only lawyers we employ are housing specialists.

dixiechick1975 · 17/07/2015 19:29

Many years ago as a trainee we had a drop in legal advice clinic one night a week. Manned by me and other trainee. We listened - if not legal or not our firms area pointed them to CAB if it was something we did we checked if legal aid eligible/explained re funding options. Think some firms still do similar. There is usually a wills promotion annually where some firms will do a will for a charity donation.

Rathalie · 17/07/2015 19:34

Fastdaytears Grin I meant fee target as well you know!

Dixiechick I can't see many solicitors doing Willaid this year after they ran a campaign with the Co-Op advising people that they didn't need a solicitor to make a will (particularly irksome as solicitors have historically donated the entire fee to Willaid whereas the Co-Op only give a percentage).

Tanfastic · 17/07/2015 19:34

I'm not a solicitor but I'm an office manager in a firm of solicitors. YANBU but it's what most of the general public expect and assume you will offer. The amount of times I speak to prospective clients who are aghast that they will have to pay is unbelievable.

Most solicitors I know will take some initial instructions over the phone to establish if it's something in their remit and then advise on charges, not advise what they should do/are entitled to.

lagirafe · 17/07/2015 19:37


I think the same when I read this comment.

dixiechick1975 · 17/07/2015 19:43

I didn't know that about will aid Rathalie we don't do wills. We used to send someone (trainee) to CAB on a rota but stopped a couple of years ago. Govt reforms made our work considerably less profitable so not viable.

ClashCityRocker · 17/07/2015 19:52

It's the same with accountants.

We do offer a free initial consultation which is very much fact finding; we don't offer advice until we've formally signed them up as a client, gone through money laundering procedures etc. We could be in big trouble if we did.

Doesn't stop people turning up wanting to know if some elaborate and slightly dubious scheme they've concocted could work.

Having said that, I do think that it's a travesty that legal representation is only available to those who can afford it, but I'm not sure how it could be dealt with.

Ilovecrapcrafts · 17/07/2015 20:00

Yanbu. And the speak to CAB/ ACAS/ your union

The majority of people are not in a union (and those in a union would surely be unlikely to be posting grievances on MN as my experience is unions are very active in informing their members wage to do if they have issues, with all due respect, my experience of CAB and ACAS are they are poor apart from the most straight forward of problems which most people could google as you say.

NotSayingImBatman · 17/07/2015 20:01

My old firm only offered 15 minutes of free advice. And that was pretty much enough time to get the basic facts from the client and give them a rough quote for the work.

LeftMyRidingCropInTheMortuary · 17/07/2015 20:04

30 mins is hardly enough time to establish the facts of the case especially in some complicated family law thing.
I think the reason this advice is doled out thought, is to say "get a solicitor, you won't have to pay upfront" eg for a financially abused wife.

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