“Avoid counselors who charge a non-refundable flat fee for their services. Instead, work with a counselor who lets you choose the services you desire, and permits you to terminate services at any time, paying only for those already rendered.” Page 262 of What Can You Do With a Law Degree, Third Edition, by the late Deborah Arron.
Another way to look at it is to say that this field of career counseling for lawyers is for the most part unknown. For many lawyers, their only experience was a negative one with those called career counselors at law schools, who were in reality “placement people”, helping to funnel (or “place”) those with the best grades into large law firms (often contrary to the best interests of these graduates) while ignoring the rest of the class. Little effort was put into providing advice on how to plan a career and find satisfying positions.
Many unhappy lawyers who desperately seek to make a change are therefore easy targets for businesses that seem to give assurance that they will provide “whatever it takes” to ensure that the client will end up in a new and rewarding position. The upfront non-refundable fee for “whatever it takes” may run into thousands of dollars. The lawyer often is not aware of what the components are of “whatever it takes”.
In my twenty-five years providing career services for lawyers, I believe that some of these components are of little value to lawyers. For that reason, if you are considering making a change, as suggested above, you should not contract with any organization unless you can choose the services as you go and pay for them individually.
It should then come as no shock to you that I have a very simple fee structure. I charge $150 for every hour I spend talking to you, whether in person or over the telephone. There is no minimum number of hours you contract to retain me for. When I schedule a session, I let you know what we expect to accomplish. You are free to end our working relationship at any time. I only ask to be paid for the time I have put in up to that point.