Can Attorneys Afford to Give Legal Information Away?

Attorneys can provide free information through various online platforms

As a lawyer, your job is to provide information to those who need it. Clients come to you because they need help and have no ability to get it on their own. That’s where your hard-earned education, experience in your area of law, and exceptional research skills come into play.

Considering the fact that you do have to spend time finding information—or at least in sharing what you already know—it makes sense that you would charge for this service. You are trying to run a profitable business after all, and can’t just be giving your time and expertise away, right?

Not always. At times, giving information is not only wise, but will pay for itself many times over.

Think of buying a used car. You take that car to a mechanic before making a purchasing decision so you don’t get stuck with a lemon. Not only does the mechanic tell you about any potential repairs, but he or she typically doesn’t charge you for the 20 minutes spent under the hood.

When it comes time for a tune-up or an oil change on that car, where do you think you’re likely to go? If a friend has a mechanical issue, who are you going to refer? Chances are good that you’ll be seeing that mechanic again!

The same can be said for lawyers. Obviously you don’t want to constantly give your services away for free, but providing a bit of information at a seminar or during a business lunch, can actually work as a marketing strategy to garner future business. Providing a short answer that is helpful is pretty much guaranteed to make you look great. It is possible for others to try to take advantage of this, but if you go into it with a good attitude and maybe the idea that if you can answer a question in a certain period of time, then you’ve got a pretty great tool for building rapport and positioning yourself as the expert in your area.

Here are some other ways you can consider “giving” away information:

  • Blog Posts – Providing basic information to the most common questions that you get on your website or blog is a great way to help people. This will not just get you appreciation from people in need, but you will also position yourself as a thought leader.
  • Client Newsletters – Whether you do an electronic newsletter or a printed one (or both, which is absolutely best!), make sure that you are giving relevant information about your practice area. People view information coming from attorneys as highly valuable and they will read it.
  • Videos – Studies show that there are a great many people who prefer to get their content in a video-format. People, who may not take the time to read your blog, will certainly take the time to watch a short video for the valuable information you provide.
  • Social Media – Unless you live under a rock, you realize the amount of time that people spend on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites is enormous. This is a great way to get pertinent information out to people who need it.

While this may seem daunting to some, sending out quality information to people who need it is a great way to become their “go-to” lawyer. When it comes time for those people to take the step and see a lawyer, who do you think they’re going to call? (Hint – you!)


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

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Laura Lee Sparks

About Laura Lee Sparks

Laura Lee Sparks is the Founder and CEO of Legal Marketing Maven, a full service outsourcing firm for estate planning and elder law attorneys designed to train virtual and in-house staff and provide the tools and resources lawyers need to implement consistent, focused, diversified marketing in their law practice.

More posts:View all posts by Laura Lee Sparks

One Response to “Can Attorneys Afford to Give Legal Information Away?”

  1. Aaron Hall Says:

    As an attorney, I believe attorneys must freely give away information to showcase their expertise and command of the subject matter. Let’s face it, information is free (lawyers are merely regurgitating information they learned from another source). It’s the application of information to someone’s particular facts and circumstances that requires expertise, for which clients should expect to pay.

    For small cases where clients want advice that solves their problems, we usually charge for our time. For ongoing relationships where clients want to ascertain whether we have the expertise to help them on large matters, we usually provide a sample of a relationship with us (which amounts to free advise on initial matters) because we understand clients need to (1) see what we have to offer and (2) understand our value before entrusting us with larger matters.


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