Why Offer Unbundled Services?

By Joryn Jenkins

Unbundled legal services is a form of limited legal representation. Think of offering such services as offering your clients an a la carte menu of services. It gives your clients more control of their cases, which typically leads to happier clients. If you offer this choice, your clients only hire you and pay you for the specific services that they decide they need. It also gives you more control because you are able to limit your representation to only those areas at which you truly excel without having to completely turn away clients.

If you offer unbundled legal services, it is crucial that your clients understand the limits of your representation. Not only should you explain those limitations, but you should also be sure to have your clients sign engagement letters or retainer agreements that specifically outline what your representation includes, and, also, what it does not include.

What’s most important about offering discrete task representation is that it allows you to provide more services as a peacemaker. In fact, collaborative representation itself is a form of unbundled legal services because it limits the representation to non-litigation services. Unbundled services may also include any of the following: negotiating, researching and writing, consulting, coaching, teaching, analyzing, drafting or reviewing settlement offers, etc. A client may retain a lawyer for just one portion of her case, like representation or mediation for single but difficult subjects like alimony or timesharing. This is more cost-effective for the client who is able to resolve many issues except for just one or two. Limiting the number of issues reduces the amount of work for the attorney, as well as the fees generated by the attorney.

Because unbundled services are typically more economical for clients, offering them as an alternative expands the number of people who are able to afford some form of legal representation. It also decreases the number of cases with astronomical legal fees in which the clients feel that someone has taken advantage of them and are more likely to file legal malpractice complaints and have negative feelings about attorneys.

Unbundled legal services are a progressive form of representation that benefits both the clients and the attorneys. Consider adding these services to your practice today!

Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, 2 of which she served as a professor of law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen Award, an honor bestowed upon those who have provided exceptional leadership to The American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.

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