Limited Scope (“unbundled”)
In these changing economic times, more and more people are finding they can’t afford to hire a lawyer for traditional full-service representation.
You don’t want to walk away from your rights or fail to get the legal advice you need.
A limited scope representation can help you protect rights and secure legal advice in an affordable and effective way. The question isn’t whether such an agreement is better than full service: it is whether it is better than no service at all.
Legal representation has traditionally included the “full bundle” of legal services such as:
• Gathering facts from the client;
• Gathering facts from third parties;
• Discovering facts from the opposing party if litigation is involved;
• Researching the law;
• Advising and counseling the client;
• Drafting correspondence and documents;
• Drafting and filing pleadings if litigation is involved;
• Negotiating on behalf of the client;
• Representing the client in court or other proceedings, such as a deposition.
“Unbundling” is an arrangement whereby we agree that I will perform some, but not all, aspects of a legal matter, and may or may not coach the you on others. It can range from merely consulting on a legal issue, and to obtaining assistance with document preparation, procedural information, strategy, or legal briefing.
Legal coaching is based on the concept of the attorney as a “counselor at law,” and refers to the process whereby an attorney provides a client with his or her advice and knowledge, rather than performing concrete tasks, such as drafting documents.
I offer you three basic forms of Fee Agreements: hourly; fixed; and subscription. Under each, you “pay as you go” for requested services as they are provided.
Sometimes, a client simply wishes to confer with an attorney, get legal advice or assistance, pays for it and goes away. Other times, the client consults for a single service (such as drafting an order after hearing), sometimes they return periodically for coaching periodically through a protracted litigation.
Outside Service Providers
Of course, everyone would benefit from quality representation at every phase of their legal matter. That simply isn’t an option for a large number of civil litigants, especially in state courts. However, there will be times when I shall provide you with advice and recommendations to retain the services of a more traditional law firm and/or specialist in an area outside the scope of my practice.
Meeting with Me
It is important to thoroughly discuss all aspects of your case (even those which you think are simple) with me before deciding which parts you want to do yourself and which ones you wish will assist you with.
It is equally important to realize that there may be important issues presented by your case that you aren’t even aware of. You could be at serious legal risk about an issue you don’t even realize exists. If you don’t discuss them with me, how will you know?
Never make assumptions about the law which applies to your case.
The law shows you’ve seen on TV are rarely accurate, and just because you’ve “seen it on TV,” doesn’t mean it is correct, or even “legal.”
The only way you know this is to talk it over with a qualified attorney.
Sometimes new issues will pop up after your case is started. If they do, it is important to advise inform me and discuss them, so that you know the potential legal consequences to you.
I can only advise you on matters you tell me about, so it is essential that you provide complete information about your case.
Remember, you and I are working together as a team. That means good communication and a clear understanding of each person’s assignments is essential.
My fiduciary duties of loyalty and confidentiality apply with equal force and effect within the legal counseling relationship. The duty of confidentiality is fundamental and attaches upon consultation or the formation of the attorney-client relationship.