Clients of modest means including those who are not eligible for legal aid are unlikely to be able to afford to instruct a solicitor on the basis of a traditional retainer, but they may wish to instruct a solicitor under a partial retainer for a particular aspect or aspects of their case.
Swan Family Lawyers has introduced unbundled services as a more affordable alternative to the traditional retainer.
What is unbundling?
In the context of legal services, the term 'unbundling' is used to describe provision of discrete events of legal assistance in relation to a case under a partial retainer, rather than a traditional full retainer where a solicitor typically deals with all matters from initial instructions until the case is concluded. It is sometimes referred to as 'a la carte' legal services. Unbundling can operate on several different levels such as:
- providing clients with self-help packs
- providing discrete advice about a specific step or steps in a case or issue on one or more occasion
- checking or drafting documents
The essence of unbundling in its purest form is that the case remains client led so the solicitor does not accept service of documents, does not send out correspondence in the firm's name or otherwise communicate with third parties, does not incur disbursements and does not go on the court record.
In a family law context, unbundled services can be offered for elements of the case such as initial advice on law and procedure, drafting the divorce application, financial statements and consent orders. Assisting clients in relation to contested proceedings is possible on an unbundled basis, but the client remains responsible for what happens at court.
Ask about what the service includes and what is not included. Your lawyer will help you understand what we will do for you and what you have to do for yourself. Your solicitor will inform you about our fee system and when you will be required to pay.