This is something not taught in law school.
Ask any experienced lawyer. It is possible to detect the nature of a cold-call to your office within the first 20 seconds.
Here’s an example.
“I was hoping you could just tell me how to (specific legal action*).”
*The specific legal function may be as simple as drafting a basic will, but it could be as involved as defending against multiple felony charges.
This person has no plan to hire an attorney. They will not spend $20 for legal representation any more than they would spend $20,000. The key word is “just.” Go back and look at the context of this weasel word. It, in essence, mandates “Give me the information I want, and I promise to end this conversation and never call again.”
What they don’t realize is that, if you were to fully explain how to do a particular legal action, you’d be on the phone with them for many, many hours as you explain the various permutations, contingencies, and possible/probable courses-of-action. There’s a reason that lawyers are part of a profession.
If they truly intended to hire a lawyer to shepherd their case, a potential client would never ask this question. After all, they would realize the answer to the “…tell me just how to…” question is “Hire an attorney to take charge of the case and guide it to completion.” The original statement is the functional opposite of “I need an attorney, are you available?” or “Will you take my case?”
Therefore, this statement tells you something very important within the opening seconds of the call. You are merely the extension of a Google search to this individual. In fact, they probably don’t even know who they are calling. If you allow the conversation to reach a polite and natural ending, I guarantee they will ask “Now, who am I speaking to, again?”
End the call as quickly as possible and get back to your current cases.