A new ethics opinion has been published by the State Bar of Michigan on the topic of unbundling legal services. This is another example of a State Bar recognizing the need for unbundled legal services as a means of access to justice for the public. The conclusion from the opinion (entitled RI-347):
So long as he or she complies with the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct and other law, a lawyer may, without appearing in a proceeding or otherwise disclosing or ensuring the disclosure of the lawyer’s assistance to the court or to other counsel and other parties, assist a pro se litigant by giving advice on the content and format of documents to be filed with the court, including pleadings, by drafting those documents for the litigant, by giving advice about what to do in court or any combination of these.
The opinion further states that the attorney is not obligated to announce the limited legal representation to the court as long as there is no misrepresetnation by the pro se litigant that he or she has not been provided with the assistance of an attorney. So for those attorneys licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan who may have been considering operating a virtual law practice to deliver unbundled services online, this opinion is supportive of limited scope services pertaining to that state’s laws. Footnotes in the opinion provide citations to other state bar and ABA opinions and resources related to the unbundling of legal services.