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What are "unbundled legal services" or "limited legal services"?

"Unbundled" legal services, also known as "limited legal services" or "discrete task representation," is providing to the client just the legal services they want for a fixed price. and no more. The firm enter into a Limited Services Retainer Agreement that specifies the scope of representation, and usually for a fixed price.

Example of limited legal services are:

  • legal forms bundled with legal advice for a fixed price;
  • legal advice purchased by the question or by the session;
  • legal review and analysis of a single document;
  • court coaching services, where your attorney assists you in representing yourself in court, but doesn't make an appearance on your behalf.

Online limited legal services are legal services that are delivered via the Internet, rather than within the law firm's physical office. This results in additional savings and efficiencies for clients who prefer to deal with their lawyers via the Internet.

The concept of offering "limited legal services" has been around for at least two decades as alternative way of delivering legal services within the office setting. When this idea is migrated to delivery of legal services on the Web it becomes powerful, because the reach of the law firm is extended and because you can systemize the entire process enabling the firm to offer limited legal services for a fixed fee. without sacrificing law firm profit margins.

The majority of states have now modified there professional rules that enable law firms to deliver "limited legal services" either on-line or off-line.


Additional Resource on the "Limited Legal Service" Concept

http://www.unbundledlaw.org
This web site, hosted by the Maryland Legal Assistance Network, originated with the convening of a national conference on “The Changing Face of Legal Practice: A National Conference on ‘Unbundled’ Legal Services” in October 2000. The site contains the documents and recommendations from the conference as well as a bibliography, ethics opinions, profiles of local programs, and updates on activity at the national and state level.

Unbundled Resource Center
This web site, hosted by the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services, includes a bibliography of articles, books, case law, ethics opinions, and court rules related to unbundled legal services.

Mosten Mediation
This web site, hosted by family lawyer and mediator Forrest (Woody) Mosten, includes links to resources for lawyers and clients interested in the unbundled model of service delivery.

Articles on Limited Legal Services

(Many of these articles are older articles and focus on the delivery of limited legal services off-line, not on-line, but are useful unbderstanding the concept.)

William Hornsby, Improving the Delivery of Affordable Legal Services Through the Internet: A Blueprint for the Shift to a Digital Paradigm, ABA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services (Nov. 1999).

Stephanie Kimbro, Law a la Carte: The Case for Unbundling Legal Services, ABA/GPSOLO  (2012)

Books on Limited Scope Representation - "Unbundled Legal Services"


Stephanie Kimbro, Limited Scope Legal Services: Unbundling and the Self-Help Client, American Bar Association, Law Practice Division, (2012).

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Copyright © 2016, Richard S. Granat