Unbundled Legal Services | Divorce and Family Law | Los Angeles | Ventura
We offer Unbundled Legal Services to people who are representing themselves in divorce or family law cases in Los Angeles or Ventura Counties
We can provide you Unbundled Legal Consultation Services, which may comprise advice, strategizing, document review or preparation, ghostwriting, coaching, witness preparation, hearing preparation, research, etc., minimizing attorney time and expense while providing the benefit of expert advice and assistance when and as requested. We offer you the ability to "unbundle" family law services to suit your desires, needs and ability to pay.
Our Family Law and Divorce firm focuses exclusively on Family Law as practiced in the Courts of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, so you can be assured that we understand your Family Law issues.
We offer Unbundled Family Law Services as a convenience to people who don't wish to make use of full-service Family Law practice, or who cannot afford full-service or limited scope representation.
We provide you the same personal attention in unbundled services that we historically provided to our full-service clients.
What are Unbundled Legal Services?
Unbundled legal services (Unbundled Services) are consultation services offered by an attorney [sometimes referred to herein as "the Unbundled Services Provider"] to a person handling his or her own case, i.e., a party representing himself or herself "in Pro Per" [sometimes referred to herein as "the Pro Per" or "the party"], to counsel and assist, but not to represent that person in the pending case.
In an Unbundled Services arrangement, the party consults the lawyer and gets legal information, advice about the party's case, and assistance from the Unbundled Services Provider when the party determines a need for it. Unbundled services does not provide the sort of traditional full-service representation that a party would receive by retaining an attorney for all purposes in the case.
Unbundled services are frequently sought and received in Family Law cases when a party seeks assistance with certain aspects of his or her case. People who can't afford to pay an advance retainer to retain an attorney for ongoing representation, or who don't want the responsibility to pay the ongoing charges of a retained attorney, can obtain consultation and assistance from attorneys who offer unbundled services, on a "pay as you go" basis. This form of assistance has become more prevalent in the past few years, following the downturn of the economy.Typical Scope of Unbundled Services:
Unbundled services can consist of meeting with and interviewing the self-represented party (Pro Per), corresponding with the Pro Per and others, advising, guiding, making recommendations, strategizing, coaching and providing advice and procedural information to the Pro Per, performing legal research, drafting Pro Per documents, contacting or interviewing witnesses, obtaining third party declarations, reviewing and analyzing legal documents and correspondence, preparing discovery (Interrogatories, Requests for Admission, Inspection Demands) and/or discovery responses for the Pro Per, preparing Income and Expense Declarations, Schedules of Assets and Debts, Declarations of Disclosure, serving documents, filing documents, performing public record searches, referring the Pro Per to experts, preparing the Pro Per's testimony, witnesses and exhibits for hearings or trial, among other services, but not being the Pro Per's attorney of record, not receiving documents or correspondence from the opposing side or the court, and not appearing at hearings.
Examples of Unbundled Services:
- The party hires the lawyer to consult and advise the party as to options, procedures, responses, and deadlines.
- The party hires the lawyer to prepare forms and other court documents, but the client files the documents and represents himself/herself at the hearings.
- The party hires the lawyer to coach the client on how to represent himself/herself at the court hearings.
- The party hires the lawyer to help the client to prepare the evidence that the client presents in court.
- The party hires the lawyer to "ghost" some of the more complicated parts of the client's case, such as discovery and legal research.
Your written contract with your Unbundled Services provider should be clear as to the scope of unbundled services that may be sought by you and/or provided by the attorney, it should specify that the attorney does not represent you, and it should set forth your fee agreement with the attorney. Before you sign, make sure you read and understand everything in the agreement and the risks of Unbundled Services.Some Limitations of Unbundled Services:
The unbundled services provider does not represent the Pro Per, and performs only the piecework consultation services that the Pro Per brings to the unbundled services provider per their written agreement, whereas in traditional full-service representation, the attorney represents the client and is responsible to handle all tasks reasonably necessary to properly represent the client. Without inputs from the Pro Per, the Unbundled Services Provider will not and cannot know of any need of the Pro Per for Unbundled Services.Some Benefits of Unbundled Services:
There are some benefits to unbundled services. They cost less than retained services. The Pro Pers do most of the work themselves, and visit the attorney only for the assistance that they seek. They stay in control of their own case instead of relinquishing control to a retained attorney. The other party may be less guarded when an unbundled services provider ghosts documents or correspondence for the Pro Per (California Rules of Court, Rule 5.70 provides that an attorney who ghosts documents is not required to disclose the ghosting) . Unbundling frequently results in more contact between the parties, enabling them to try to work out their issues instead of relying on an attorney, at substantial expense, to do it for them.The Pro Per needs to be diligent:
Since the Pro Per is the one "on the firing line", representing himself or herself in the case, the Pro Per needs to be diligent in being responsible, promptly opening mail, monitoring deadlines, knowing when to seek assistance, seeking assistance, contacting the unbundled services provider, setting appointments early enough to accommodate the needs of the case and the schedule of the unbundled services provider, seeking the advice of the unbundled services provider, and following the directions of the unbundled services Provider.Options that may be available beyond Unbundled Services:
If a party should desire or need representation by an attorney for a specific hearing, whether a deposition, a Motion or Order to Show Cause [OSC], or the trial of the case, the party may seek representation for a specific aspect of the case, or on a certain date, via limited scope representation, which would require a separate Limited Scope Retainer Agreement, and a filed and served Notice of Limited Scope Representation, to retain an attorney on a limited scope basis.Savings realized from Unbundled Services:
Substantial savings can be realized by Pro Pers receiving the benefit of unbundled services, by choosing the limited aspects of their case for which they seek such services, by not incurring the expense of a retained attorney "on the firing line" to receive and respond to correspondence and documents, and by not incurring the expense of having a retained attorney present in court for hearings and the unavoidable waiting time for hearings.
A Powerful, Efficient, Successful Approach to Family Law and Divorce. E-mail us or Call 818.880.8990 or 888.616.0659 | Free telephone consultation.