Unbundling of legal services or engaging a lawyer to carry out a discrete task can be done pursuant to a limited purpose retainer with your lawyer. A limited purpose retainer can be contrasted with traditional full-service practice where your lawyer represents you at all stages of a proceeding and does most, if not all, of the work required. It is important when unbundling legal services that both the lawyer and the client worked together to agree the division of tasks. This allocation depends on the demands of the particular case, the needs and skills of the client and the desire of the client to control the process. While saving legal costs is only one factor leading to unbundling it is probably the driving force. Few clients can pay for the traditional full-service package. Unbundling makes the client in charge of the process. The client decides what needs to be done to solve the problem. The client decides the allocation of work between the client and the lawyer. A written limited purpose retainer is a contract between the lawyer and the client which specifies exactly what services the client seeks with the client to remain in control of their case. Some of the services a client may seek from their lawyer are:
- legal advice purchased at an initial consultation or subsequent consultations with the lawyer personally or by telephone or email;
- advice about availability of alternate means of dispute resolution including collaborative practice, mediation and negotiation;
- guidance and procedural information about filing and serving of documents for review of correspondence and core documents;
- preparation of affidavits and other court documents;
- factual investigations including contacting witnesses, public record searches and preparation of statements;
- legal research and analysis;
- advice on client's duty of disclosure about client's financial circumstances; planning for negotiations;
- planning for court appearances by client;
- back up and troubleshooting during court proceedings;
- advice on experts and other professionals;
- legal and procedural advice on appeals.
Contact Swan Family Lawyers for more information about unbundled legal services.