Unbundled Legal Services
What are unbundled legal services?
In difficult economic times, it can be hard to come up with the money necessary to retain a lawyer to handle your case from start to finish. In other instances, a person may simply be determined to represent him or her self. Regardless of the reason, the person is still faced with preparing and filing pleadings, preparing the case for a hearing, and finally resolving the case by trial or settlement. Parties who represent themselves are held to the same standards that an attorney is held to. How can unrepresented parties cope?
An answer may be found in unbundled legal services, also known as limited-scope services. These are legal services that are broken down and offered as individualized legal services, instead of “bundled” legal services—which is the traditional representation by a lawyer. By choosing to use an attorney offering unbundled legal services, it is possible for an individual to receive the necessary legal assistance at an affordable price. Some of the services that can be unbundled include:
— Providing basic legal advice
–Drafting pleadings, briefs, declarations or orders
–Conducting legal research
–Coaching on strategy or role playing
–Advising on courtroom procedures and behavior
–Organizing discovery materials
–Drafting contracts and agreements
–Providing direction to resources such as local and state rules.
Types of unbundled services in family law cases
Types of Unbundled Legal Services
- Consultations, in person or by phone or email.
- Legal and Court Coaching
- Consultation sessions in person, by phone or online
- Legal and Court Coaching
- Document Preparation
- Document review
How it works
Example 1: John wants to try to obtain joint custody of his child, but is unable to reach an agreement with Cindy, the mother of the child. He wants to file a lawsuit to try to get joint custody.
In a case like this, John comes to the firm for a consultation to determine the best way to proceed. Since he wants to file a lawsuit, he engages us to assist him in drawing the complaint, and the papers necessary to start the lawsuit. Later, when he is served with an answer from Cindy’s lawyer, he returns for a consultation to discuss the answer, and how he needs to respond. When the case appears on a trial calendar, he returns for a coaching session, to talk about strategy, how to appear in court, and tips on how to present his case.
Example 2: Brenda has been sued by her estranged husband for custody and property division.
Brenda brings the complaint to us to discuss what it means, and how to proceed. She hires the firm to prepare her answer and counterclaims, as well as discovery requests. She also seeks coaching before the required property mediation, and before trial.
The fine print – you must read this
Remember that in using unbundled legal services, you are not hiring the firm to prepare and try your case for you from start to finish, but only to do specific tasks that you choose to have done. Because of that, while we are responsible for what we do, you remain responsible for the conduct and outcome of the case. If you are uncertain that you can appear in court on your own, this is not the the best option for you, and you should consider hiring a lawyer to represent you in the traditional way.