I have been an Intellectual Property / Patent Attorney in the New York area for the past 7 years. A few years back I received a call asking for some insight on a potential case and what my services would cost. After getting the facts from the client, it didn’t appear that they had much of a case, so I told them that they would have to pay for my services up front. I discussed my payment options with the potential client and came up with retainer figure of about $12,000.
Unfortunately, the client didn't have that kind of money to "risk" on a potential payout. I think that put doubt in my client’s eyes as to whether or not they even had a case. Fortunately for them, and unfortunately for me they had a no quit attitude and moved on without me.
A few years later, that same client wrote me a letter and told me that they continued to seek for an attorney that would work the case on a contingency basis and did. Ultimately the client received a payout of about $6,000,000 from a major international manufacturing company.
Had I asked more questions, and looked up additional case precedent, I may have uncovered law and past court rulings that were in the clients favor. Had I only spent more time researching or even consulted a colleague I may have been part of that payout.
I may not have taken a case that makes an attorney's career or received the two million their attorney was compensated but I did learn not to prejudge, and to invest some time in researching before dismissing a potential client.