Sure, that’s always a possibility. But it is highly unlikely that the information contained in your legal guide will allow the customer to proceed on his own (after all, if your free e-book can take the place of years of law school, nobody would ever hire a lawyer again).
Imagine that your ideal customer is searching the Internet, trying to find a reliable source of information that can answer her legal questions. At this point, she’s probably not ready to hire an attorney; she’s “researching” her legal problem or shopping around to narrow down the choices for legal representation in the area.
And what does she find? A ton of attorney websites trying to make a complete sale to the customer. They offer little information, except for where the attorney got his degree and his office location. They’re full of smarmy law firm taglines. They promise the reader that the attorney will win her case, even though they have never met and the lawyer doesn’t know anything at all about this potential client’s case.
But now, she finds your site. It’s full of information that speaks directly to her problems and her current situation, and you’re offering her even more information at no cost. You don’t talk about winning her case or calling NOW for an appointment; you’re only trying to give away something for free. After all those other bogus sites, what a refreshing sight your offer will be!
In instances where a customer who asked for your guide doesn’t hire you, you can still market to her (and by proxy, everyone she knows who is looking for an attorney) years into the future. If you had gone with the standard “free consultation” marketing, you still wouldn’t have gotten her business—but you also wouldn’t have added her to your marketing list.