I was thrilled to read that unbundling was mentioned several times at Reinvent Law in NYC last Friday. Unbundling, or limited scope representation, is the primary delivery method used by many of the newer, online methods of legal service delivery. Of course, not all lawyers have been trained in how to unbundle legal services ethically. Unbundling tends to get only a footnote in most law schools when and if they cover law practice management.
In order to compete in a changed legal marketplace it will be imperative for lawyers to learn how to unbundle their services for clients, but also for other lawyers and law firms if they are solo or small firm practitioners. I wrote a book on this topic a couple years ago so I’ll start sharing more of those tips on here for those who are interested in staying competitive. For a virtual law practitioner, this is even more critical because of how much easier it is to deliver unbundled services online than full-service.
Here are 15 questions that may be added to the client intake process to help a lawyer determine whether the client is a good candidate for unbundling. They may also help the client understand the nature of the limited scope representation and how it differs from full-service assistance.
- Have you worked with a lawyer on any issues surrounding this matter before?
- Have you personally researched the law and legal issues involved in this matter?
- How much is financially at stake?
- How much is emotionally at stake?
- What do you see as a positive outcome for this case?
- What would you be willing to settle for if that exact outcome is not achievable?
- What aspects of this process are you willing and able to handle yourself?
- Have you ever been involved in a lawsuit or have any experience in the legal system?
- What resources are available to you in terms of time to devote to this matter, such as time away from work, arranging for childcare, etc.?
- What resources are available to you in terms of assistance from family members, paralegals, nonlawyer professionals, etc.?
- What tasks do you know that you want the lawyer to provide?
- How do you expect for us to collaborate to create a strategy for your case?
- How do you expect to communicate with the law firm?
- Are you comfortable using technology to communicate, such as web conferences, secure real-time chat or encrypted email?
- How much are you able to budget for unbundled legal services?