Unbundled legal services

Recently, the Law Society has allowed lawyers to offer unbundled legal services to clients who may not be able to afford full service representation. In the family law context, choosing to retain a lawyer for what is called ‘limited scope representation’ will allow clients to save money if it looks like their relationship breakdown is headed towards litigation.

Limited scope representation allows you to hire a lawyer to advise you only on parts of your case but not necessarily the whole thing.

For example, a lawyer can draft court pleadings, but the client might be responsible for serving the pleadings, filing them at the courthouse, and managing any court deadlines or communications with their ex.

Because unbundled services means there is a division of responsibility between the lawyer and the client, the client needs to feel comfortable and competent to manage aspects of their case on their own. Even with coaching, navigating the complex family court system is daunting for a self-represented
litigant.

What tasks can a lawyer perform on an unbundled basis?

· advise on court procedure
· conduct case law research
· draft pleadings
· provide legal opinions & strategy
· arrange for service & filing of materials
· preparing calculations for division of property, child or spousal support

To give you an idea how much money you could save by conducting part of your litigation on your own, the typical cost of a motion for full representation is $5,000.00. If you were to represent yourself at the motion and only hire a lawyer to help you prepare the necessary materials, you might save up to one-half the cost.

Since it’s relatively new, only time will tell how much demand there is from consumers for unbundled family law services.

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