My colleages, it seems, are not rushing to respond to your question because it is a sensitive issue. I want, as always, to be completely candid and can only hope that my directness is well received. I understand how you feel, but consider the other side of the coin - a lot of lawyers spend a good bit of time doing pro bono work through an agency such as Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation and DeKalb Volunteer Lawyers Foundation - and many offer services at a reduced hourly rate (for example, they may be asked by a Court to serve as a Guardian ad Litem on cases in which the parties have no or little income at a reduced hourly rate) - and many have clients for whom they have worked tirelessly - even late at night and over the weekends or holidays, leaves of absences - who are unable to pay or choose not to pay their bills - and of course their are attorneys who practice in settings, i.e. Juvenile Court, representing parents and children in abuse and neglect cases - even if they are paid $40.00 an hour when an attorney with similar experience would earn $400.00 in a private case - because they feel and hope that in so doing, they are giving back to the community in some meaningful way. In between doing all of the above, attorneys could theoretically spend hours each day consulting with potential clients and not get paid anything for their time - when like the rest of the community, they have families to support and practices to maintain, so that they can continue to serve members of their community. Consider that doctors, I believe appropriately so, charge for their time even during initial visits - that teachers get paid (as they should) even for their first day at work - that therapists charge for their initial sessions, etc. When an attorney meets with you, it is not just his or her time, but he or she is gathering important information from you in order to effectively represent you. Also consider that before the initial interview, many attorneys may have already spent considerable time at no cost to the potential client over the phone, an initial consultation if you will. That said, it is your absolute right not to meet or to meet with an attorney who chooses to charge for an initial consultation. If the attorney is on AVVO, his or her profile typically notes whether the initial consultation is free. Hope this answers your question. Best to you.
This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered as nor does it constitute legal advice. This answer does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Do not rely on this answer in prosecuting or defending against any criminal or civil legal action. Speak to an attorney in your area about how to protect yourself and your interests.
Many lawyers offer a free consultation and many do not. A prospective client may begin a phone conversation with a lawyer by asking if the lawyer charges for a consultation, or offers one for free. If the client is looking for a free consultation, he finds out right away whether this is a lawyer who offers one.