What’s the deal with unbundled legal services?
It’s not just a term used to describe cable tv and phone services. Nowadays it’s also a term used to describe the delivery of legal services, especially in my own area of legal expertise, family law.
Let me explain.
Traditionally family law lawyers retained by a party in a family law dispute assumed responsibility for everything until the matter was settled, either by agreement or court order.
This included responsibility for filing or defending legal proceedings, (called “being on the record”), sending and receiving documents and correspondence, to and from, other counsel, attending all court appearances etc.
Retaining counsel also meant being asked to provide a monetary retainer. An inconvenient, and not so insignificant lump sum, with no guarantee usually given that the retainer will be sufficient to settle matters, and often not.
And as the cost of legal services has continued to escalate, this traditional model of providing family law services has become simply unaffordable for any, but the wealthiest.
Which is the reason that many parties have no alternative but to represent themselves, sometimes referred to as self- represented litigants (SRL’s). But even SRL’s still need access to effective, and affordable legal advice and assistance to navigate an intimidating, and complex, family law system.
And also the reason and motivation to provide individuals with the option of using a different, “unbundled” model, to access my family law services. What I refer to as the “pay as you go model”, which can offer significant advantages.
These include not having to provide an up-front lump sum retainer since you will be representing yourself, and taking direct control of matters. You simply rent my time and support, as, and when, needed.
My range of services could include, helping you to understand your legal rights and obligations, answering questions, assisting you to commence, appear, or respond, to legal proceedings filed by your spouse or counsel, drafting documents, correspondence etc.
And as I always mention to anyone who chooses this option, the more effort, commitment, and work you assume, the less you’ll pay for my services. With the added bonus, if you don’t like what I do for you, you can terminate my services easily by not renting any more time!
Also, since I am not retained as your counsel any and all documents and correspondence will need to be sent to you rather than me, another legal expense you can avoid.
In addition, since you are representing yourself you have the right to deal directly with your spouse’s counsel, whose services are being subsidized by your spouse.
There’s also another potential indirect advantage to effectively representing yourself, if your spouse has retained counsel. Since your spouse, no doubt, dislikes the fact they are paying heftier lawyer bills than you, this fact alone can often encourage a sudden, and much more reasonable settlement strategy, on the part of your spouse and counsel.
So if you happen to be involved in a family law matter, and you’re concerned about legal costs, (and who isn’t), check out lawyers like myself who provide unbundled family law services.
Finally, just think how impressed your ex will be to know you’re taking control, while paying less!