“WHY SOLICITORS DO NOT GIVE LEGAL ADVICE OVER THE PHONE?”
PATIENT: Hello doctor.
DOCTOR: Hello. How can I help you?
PATIENT: I am having a headache for 3 days.
DOCTOR: I see. You should consume two painkillers. It will reduce your headache.
On the next day, that patient died from stroke. This explains that sometimes the doctors are unable to identify a physical cause. This is because doctors need to identify and described him symptoms in detail about what type of headache suffered by the patient. Doctors should consider the needs of the patient. Those are mental and physical needs. Are these needs being met by a phone call?
Same goes to the solicitors whereby we hear often that it is difficult to draw the line of what is considered giving legal advice and simply giving legal information over the phone. If at any point during the exchange the client reasonably believes that you are offering them legal advice. Therefore, they may think that a valid lawyer-client relationship has been established and that can be problematic. This is why solicitors should avoid giving legal advice over the phone.
In Person Consultations
There are something that can never be replaced by technology and that is the level of intimacy that comes from face-to-face human connections. Regardless of whether you decide to offer phone consultations or not, there will always be some people seeking to speak with you in person. To add, in person consultations can give the clients the opportunity to engage in high stakes conversations. If you are addressing sensitive topics, providing this style of consultation is advised. Basically, there are simply some topics that should not be addressed over the phone. Any cases involved emotional situations like divorced, children, and death requires that human element to be handled well.
On top of that, what if phone consultations led to a lower no-show rate? Convenience is the key when people are seeking answers to their problems. Being able to get an answer over the phone rather than wait for an uncertain amount of time is what many people are looking for nowadays because they do not want to wait. This demand for immediacy can eliminate the need to “build rapport” for a relationship to build between the client and the solicitor. The urgency some people are facing leads to people making faster decisions based on other sources such as website and reviews.
To add, the solicitors cannot obtain all of the information they need to provide an appropriate and competent legal advice through communicating over the phone with people anonymously and confidentially. In order to provide proper advice, the solicitors must be able to communicate in a way to obtain all of the information they need. They also need to be able to research the issue properly, and this is not possible when the person is anonymous.
The solicitor could have a conflict of interest. When people come to them for advice, they need to make certain that he do not have a conflict of some kind. The solicitor could end up helping someone on the other side of a case or he could do something that would harm a current or past client. The solicitor cannot do this and therefore, he has to know who the person is.
Phone consultations take less time and focus on a single problem. In-person consultations involved more problem disclosure. There are certainly some situations, such as bankruptcy and criminal defense, where providing phone consultations is the quick and easy solution for your clients. Providing phone consultation can even give you the freedom and flexibility to work remotely. However, the traditional in-person style is a standard in the legal world, especially for emotionally charged situations.