Unbundled legal services, also known as limited scope or discrete task representation, is where the attorney and the client make an agreement to limit the scope of the attorney's involvement in a case down to specific tasks.
For example, an attorney might offer to help a client prepare court documentation or draft written arguments. The attorney can also offer to give the client step-by-step instructions on filing, court procedures, and in certain states, an attorney might offer to enter a limited appearance.
Back in 1971, only 1% of litigants self-represented. Today, that number has grown to almost 67% of all filings in family court, and that rate is even higher in many regions. This means the pond most lawyers fish in has been reduced to barely 1/3 or 1/2 the size it once was.
This is largely due to two main factors:
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For example, in 1963, the U.S. had 10,000 law school graduates. By 2014, law school graduates totaled more than 45,000. This staggering increase means there are now three times more attorneys per person!
A simple Google search for "file for divorce" reveals an abundance of online software companies and "non-lawyer" document preparation services advertising rates that are a mere fraction of typical legal fees charged by an attorney.
These types of online services usually include very limited advice or review by an attorney, if at all. Nonetheless, they are lowering expectations for what many clients expect to pay for legal services.
In 1971, only 1% of cases filed in family courts were pro se filings. Nowadays, that number is nearly 70% of filings…
There are also now 3 times as many attorneys in the U.S. today as there were back then — which means attorneys like you have more competition.
The good news is, this presents one of the biggest opportunities in the modern era for attorneys to make more money and future-proof their practice.
By offering unbundled legal services you will be able to deliver services that fit the budget of the average North American working family. Those families represent two-thirds of our current legal marketplace that would otherwise be forced to self-represent.
Here are some examples of unbundled service options and pricing that attorneys from around the country have shared on our podcast:
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