What is the quality difference between a free lawyer (state supplied) and a lawyer you pay for?
A free lawyer and legal services are, in most circumstances, better than no lawyer at all, but there is a limit to these services and a limit to how good and effective these free services are. With rare exception, when it comes to anything provided free, you get what you pay for.
Some free things are risk-free. Other free things carry very low risk.
Sometimes something we get for free is, at worst, not going to do us any harm. A free hot dog and soft drink may not be a feast, but it’s certainly not unwelcome in most cases (especially when we have the choice as to whether we accept or reject the offering). Indeed, where such a free offering does us no harm or very little harm, there’s no point in complaining about the free thing. Holding the free hot dog and soft drink to the same expectations you have of a five-star restaurant’s bill of fare would not only be irrational, it would be unfair.
But there are other free offerings that are not so risk-free and not such a simple matter. Particularly, when professional services are offered free of charge, they tend to be the most basic and essential that can be offered because it is virtually impossible to provide abundant and high-quality legal services free of charge.
Providing legal services is very expensive to do. Therefore, there is a limit to how much free service lawyers can provide before the provision of free services becomes prohibitive; attorneys are, beyond a certain point, unable to provide the services without harming themselves.
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