The legal market is changing rapidly. With law firms seemingly on every corner here in Miami, there is an increasing demand for cheaper, faster, and more convenient legal services. Law firms have to adapt to this change in order to stay afloat. The result has been the introduction of the now popular unbundled legal services. Here is everything you need to know about them.
What Are Unbundled Legal Services?
Unbundled legal services is an arrangement in which the attorney and the client agree to limit the attorney’s involvement in the case. It is also referred to as limited scope representation or discrete task representation. For example, the client might decide to represent themselves in court while the attorney is tasked with preparing the necessary court documents or drafting written arguments.
How Do Unbundled Legal Services Help Clients?
Unbundled legal services involve breaking down tasks associated with a legal problem and then providing specific legal assistance to address part of the case. As a result, clients can choose the exact type of representation they want based on their preference or budget.
Limited Scope Agreement
It is absolutely important to sign an agreement explaining the limited scope representation of the attorney’s engagement. This agreement is referred to as a limited scope agreement. The attorney should provide checklists to the client educating him or her about the specific tasks that the firm will be addressing in the representation and which ones will be handled by the client.
The agreement should also explain how the services will be performed and how communication will be done. In most cases, these services are delivered through technology. Fixed fees are also preferred as opposed to billable hours. It is important to set these expectations in the agreement to avoid any misunderstandings, such as the client calling the office repeatedly when it has already been established that communication will be conducted via email.
There can be downsides to Unbundled Legal Services. For example, while documents can be prepared, the client that does not have a legal education and courtroom training will still be at a significant disadvantage in a courtroom against an attorney. Additionally and more importantly, oftentimes I meet with clients armed with the knowledge of limited representation and their own legal research that want to make decisions regarding legal strategy. These clients are unable to see how the specific task fits the larger picture in their litigation and can end up making short-sided costly decisions. If you are considering Unbundled Legal Services, consider paying for a legal consultation as well just to make sure that the task that you are wanting to pay for is an actual and sound legal move.
Although it has its own setbacks, limited scope representation is a great opportunity for clients to receive quality, affordable legal guidance, and for law firms to expand their market for legal services. If you have a pressing legal matter, JPA Law Firm is here to help. Contact us today at (305) 423-7065.