Assisting the Self-Represented

Unbundled legal services, also called limited-scope services (or à la carte legal services), are services that are limited in scope and which the client desires and designates the task(s) that the lawyer will perform. This technique allows the client to maintain responsibility for some aspects of a case and the attorney provides assistance for other areas. Legal services can be performed either on a flat-fee or an hourly basis.

Unbundling is a method in which the lawyer and client break down the tasks associated with a legal matter and the lawyer’s responsibility is clearly defined as to certain tasks. This gives clients more control over the amount of work done by the attorney and the costs associated with legal assistance. Clients are able to obtain assistance for those tasks which they need help with, which can include counsel appearing in court for motions, hearings, or trials.

Handling only specific tasks, such as preparing court documents or entering a limited court appearance results in fewer billable hours and less cost. Many clients have the desire to represent themselves, often for economic reasons, but still need expert input regarding their cases.

Examples of unbundled legal services include discussing options and strategy, assistance with drafting documents, the calculation of child support and maintenance, disclosure and discovery, preparing for hearings and trials, limited court appearances and consultation with regard to various aspects of the case.