Unbundled Legal Services
Divorce Matters Unbundled Legal Services
Navigating the court system without the assistance of a divorce attorney can be difficult regardless of how complex or combative your case is. It is important for self-represented parties (called pro se) to seek alternative forms of representation.
What are Unbundled Legal Services?
Unbundled representation is a way for you and your attorney to choose, a-la-carte, what legal services you need. As the client, you can mix-and-match the specific tasks your attorney is hired to complete for you. For example, you can hire your attorney to consult with during your case and get advice on an as-needed basis. Your attorney can also coach you how to represent yourself pro se, and can help with preparing your case. Outside of consultation purposes, you can also hire your attorney for document review and drafting, to handle all communication with counsel and parties, or to file pleadings into your case on your behalf. If you have never worked with an attorney before, unbundled services are an excellent way to test it out.
Examples of Unbundled Legal Services:
- Document drafting and review
- Consultation and coaching
- Assistance with mandatory financial disclosures and discovery responses
- Communication with parties, counsel, court and experts
- Review of settlement offers
- File pleadings into case
Full Scope vs. Limited Scope
Full-Scope Representation is what typically comes to mind when discussing the traditional attorney-client relationship. The attorney is handling all aspects of your case and appears in court to advocate on your behalf. Understandably, this option may not be affordable to some, and there are more cost-effective ways to retain an attorney.
Limited Scope Representation or unbundled legal services are, as the name suggests, limited in the sense that the attorney will only be appearing to handle a very specific issue or part of your case. This keeps the costs lower than a traditional retainer, and limits the attorney’s liability in your case. These services will be clearly defined so that you know exactly what the attorney will be helping with. For example, if a spouse in the middle of a divorce case is suddenly served with a contempt citation and is required to attend a hearing, an attorney can enter on a limited basis to assist you with only the contempt hearing portion of your case, and allow you to handle the divorce proceedings on your own. The legal fees for Limited Scope Representation are usually much lower than complete, Full Scope Representation. However, if at any time you wish to retain your attorney to handle the entire case, that transition can easily be made.