Lately a few too many people have come to the Law Office after hiring a consultant to assist them. Unfortunately it is far too common that the consultants didn’t complete the service they were paid to do, completed it incorrectly, or gave unqualified business and legal advice. One consultant even misinformed a client about a licensing deadline and they missed out on a temporary state license costing them months of operating time.
Why Choose a Lawyer Over a Consultant?
Consultants have no credentialing. Anyone can call themselves a “consultant.” There is no licensing board or agency that certifies consultants and there is no one to report on consultants that don’t do their job.
Consultants often charge the same as lawyers despite not having the qualifications.
Consultants cannot give legal advice. They can only tell you what you can do, not what you should do. For example, consultants that set up corporations and LLC’s can tell you if a name is available and legit, but cannot advise you as to what name you should use or whether an LLC or corporation is best for you. They are not qualified to do so. This is the same for DIY incorporation websites like Legal Zoom and Rocket Lawyer. They are basically copy and paste services.
Consultants have no ethical or fiduciary obligations other than the terms of their contract. They are not required to put their client interests first and they are not prohibited from engaging in conflicts of interest against their clients. You cannot file a malpractice lawsuit against a consultant. You can only sue them for violating the terms of the contract which may be difficult to prove. Often the terms are so vague that a claim cannot succeed.
Save Time and Money
Lawyers make lots of money fixing what you already paid a consultant to do. You will end up paying twice as much than if you had gone to a lawyer in the first place. If you do want to work with a consultant, check their experience and qualifications and have a lawyer review your contract to make sure you actually get what you are paying for.