What Are Unbundled Legal Services? Understanding Limited Scope Representation

You may have heard about attorneys offering “Unbundled Legal Services.” This is a common term used in Family Law practices by Affordable Divorce Attorneys or Flat Fee Divorce Attorney.

Unbundled Legal Services represent a quickly growing segment of the legal market that aims to better meet the needs of clients with limited funds and minor issues that require legal attention.

For those who have considered handling their own family law case because of the high cost of hiring an attorney, unbundled legal services can offer an affordable way to retain attorney services.

When someone believes they cannot afford to hire an attorney, court self-help sites recommend looking for attorneys who offer unbundled legal services.

Unbundled vs. Full-Service

Typically, one hires an attorney, pays a big retainer fee and relies on the attorney to handle everything related to the case from beginning to end (often requiring several large payments to refresh the initial retainer). Traditional representation includes legal research, conducting discovery, court appearances, drafting documents and more. Full-service attorneys generally charge hourly rates and will handle every aspect of your legal needs.

While full-service attorney representation can be ideal in many cases, the prohibitive cost can place needed legal assistance out of reach for many.

When an attorney offers unbundled legal services, she is hired to perform specific tasks or take over a case for a specific portion of the litigation. When the services are unbundled, the lawyer is not responsible for every single aspect for a client’s legal need. She will work and be paid for limited legal services that the client and attorney agree on. This kind of lawyer is occasionally referred to as a Fixed Fee Attorney o Flat Fee Attorney.

Many states, including California where it was first recognized, allow for the unbundling of legal services.

Unbundling is also referred to as Limited Scope Representation or Services, a la carte legal services, discrete task representation, or disaggregated legal services.

Some common examples of unbundled legal services include:

  • Document review
  • Drafting a divorce petition
  • Reviewing settlement agreements
  • Providing legal guidance or opinions
  • Making limited court appearances

Flat Fees vs. Hourly Rates

The main advantage of unbundling legal services is affordability.

As previously mentioned, full-service attorneys generally charge an hourly rate for their services. These hours can quickly add up as they handle every aspect of your legal issue which can cost you thousands of dollars if not more.

When paying thousands (if not tens of thousands of dollars) isn’t an option, many people will opt for self-representation, with potentially disastrous results—especially if the opposing party is represented by an attorney.

Attorneys who offer unbundled legal services charge a flat fee for the limited legal services that they provide. Since the client chooses what services they desire, unbundled legal services can better meet a potential client’s budget requirements as well as their legal needs.

For example, in a divorce proceeding, a client may want their attorney to make limited court appearances and review a final settlement negotiation while the client prefers to handle getting together documents for court and preparing filings on his or her own.

The client only has to pay for the scope of representation that he or she desires at a fixed cost rather than entrusting everything to the attorney.

Learn More About Working With An Affordable Divorce Attorney In Long Beach, CA

Many people incorrectly believe that they cannot afford to hire a lawyer during a divorce, and they continue forward to their detriment. Being unable to afford traditional attorney representation does not mean that you need to navigate the tumultuous waters of legal conflict on your own. With limited scope legal services, you can afford to get the professional help when you absolutely need it while handling the other aspects of the case by yourself.

If you think you need guidance to determine your best options, but cannot afford a traditional Divorce Attorney, contact the Shoreline Legal Group LLP where we’re simplifying the legal process step by step. Serving Long Beach, Cerritos, Santa Ana, and Orange, CA as well as surrounding areas.