What are "Unbundled Legal Services"?
you also know that you might be able to talk to your spouse and resolve the matter without the extra costs of mediation and/or temporary orders. Or, maybe you are a good public speaker and feel comfortable telling the court what they need to hear to make a decision. Whatever the reason, many people just can’t afford large upfront investments!
If this is you, then an unbundled legal services option might be perfect. You can have an attorney draft the legal documents – that you need anyways – and then make your best efforts to resolve the rest of the case on your own. And in the event that things get too complicated, you can always speak to an attorney afterwards to get back on track.
Unbundled services aren't just drafting documents though. Maybe you already had your documents drafted but there is a hearing scheduled, and you freeze up in stressful situations (like speaking to a judge in public). In that case, you might want to hire an attorney to speak for you and present your case.
Maybe you have been to a hearing or 2 and have been ordered to attend mediation to seek a final resolution of the case before coming in front of the judge again. You know the other side will have an attorney representing them in mediation... This might be the perfect time to bring an attorney with you - for this one important event in your case.
Essentially, unbundled legal services are an avenue for you to pick and choose what you need professional help with while allowing you to help yourself in areas that you can manage on your own.
Common advantages of utilizing unbundled legal services:
Can be much more cost friendly than full service representation.
At Pro-Say, one major focus is on drafting pleadings that you will need one way or another to resolve your case. If your case turns out to be easy, then you will have made a very affordable one-time payment to resolve your case. If it gets messy, you can transfer the work we did for you and hire someone down the road to help you finish your case – but at least you won’t have to pay for the initial paperwork again!
Know what you are paying up front.
At Pro-Say, we quote you one-time flat-fee payments for our work – before we do it. Thus, you don’t need to worry about us inflating our time spent on a project and sending you a surprise bill that blows your mind away.
Can open the door to legal avenues that may otherwise be unavailable.
Let’s be honest, most attorneys won’t take on cases that aren’t financially “worth it” to them. Quite frankly, it just doesn’t make sense to spend 20 hours on a case that will bring in a $1,000 when you can spend that same 20 hours billing $200 an hour to earn $4,000 in a different case.
That said, you may have a significant emotional stake in the case (or maybe you just disagree with your attorney’s predicted outcome) and desperately want to get your foot in the courthouse door. By utilizing unbundling legal services, at attorney can help you file the documents to get into court and give you general advice on how to prepare and argue the case yourself once you get your foot in the door. While this option may not always be optimal, it is often better than the alternative of simply having your views and concerns ignored.
Common disadvantages of utilizing unbundled legal services:
The attorney who helped you start isn’t there to help you finish.
When services are unbundled, the attorney who helps you on Monday might not be available to see the work through on Tuesday. This is something that you must be aware of for these situations. At Pro-Say,
before we conclude our services, we make sure to explain this fact and we help prepare you for what to expect and how to handle common last minute issues that might arise which could require an attorney. Essentially, we do our best to help you be thinking 2-steps ahead just in case you need an attorney down the road but can’t get one right away.
The attorney who helped you initiate litigation gave you bad advice and isn’t there to own it when you get into the courtroom.
This may be the single biggest criticism of using unbundled legal services. At Pro-Say, our attorneys are highly experienced and highly ethical. We know what will fly in front of a judge and won’t. We also know what *might* fly and what certainly won’t. When you hire us to put you on the legal road to success, we consider it an honor that you trusted us enough to advise you with an important matter in your life. And that trust is something we would never compromise over just a few hundred bucks.
In a nutshell, the answer is a form of legal services which allows the client to pick and choose what services they need help with and what services they can do on their own. This form of legal services is also commonly referred to as "limited representation."
For example, an attorney may quote you a $5,000 retainer to 1) draft your divorce pleadings, 2) request and attend a temporary orders hearing, 3) conduct limited discovery and 4) attend mediation. However, you may not have $5,000 sitting around waiting to be spent on a lawyer. In this situation, you know you will need to file the divorce pleadings to open up the case – this isn’t negotiable. However,