I understand that, but what I don't understand is that some solicitors offer free consultations but don't appear to take them seriously. In terms of attracting customers, this would seem worse than offering no consultation.
Most people are likely to need a solicitor on more than one occasion during their lives, and the 'free initial consultation' route would seem of benefit to solicitors here. If someone has had a useful consultation for one problem, then it seems likely that if the problem continues, or if a completely separate issue crops-up in future, then the client would go back and hire that same solicitor.
I don't know of any solicitors offering diagnostic advice by phone, but if anyone does, please post their names here. Thanks.