February 11, 2008
Should I pay for my initial consultation?
This is a very common question and one where opinions will vary. My own policy is to charge for consultations, spend the time and then credit the cost towards the flat costs of handling the immigration case. Sometimes with free consultations comes very little practical advice i.e. you are getting what you are paying for because there are time limits and really the structure does not allow for a full consideration of the issues.
The real benefit for most practitioners who offer free immigration consultations is to get clients into their offices who might not otherwise attend.
The reality however is if most clients will not pay for an initial consultation it is unlikely they will be inclined to pay for the immigration process. For those that cannot afford the consultation there are options – Legal Aid, lawyers taking on pro bono(no fee) cases and settlement services like COSTI who can assist. My rule is absolute in all areas of life when it is important to me – go to someone who knows what they are doing, pay a reasonable fee for their time and services and have the job done right. Immigration, citizenship and refugee issues are critical to people’s lives and are not, in my respectful opinion, a time for bargain hunting. Sometimes during an initial consultation you will discover that there is no chance for success in your case so for a consulation fee you save yourself thousands of dollars, wasted time and wasted dreams.