What is the difference between “unbundled” legal services and retainer-based traditional family legal services?
One way to understand this is to think of traditional retainer-based family legal services as the “bundle”. What’s in the “bundle”?
Legal advice and strategizing, preparation of all documents to be used in negotiating a settlement and/or documents to be used in court, communicating with opposing counsel (or, the opposing party if s/he is self-represented), keeping track of and meeting applicable deadlines, and more.
Each of these services* can be “unbundled” and accessed as needed from a lawyer who is prepared to offer services this way.
Another term used for “unbundled” services is “limited scope retainer”. This points to the way that a “traditional” retainer can be limited in its scope, so that some services (e.g., drafting a document for use in court) are included and other services (e.g., appearing in court on the client’s behalf) are excluded.
Yet another way to understand the difference: a lawyer engaged to work on your family law case represents you vis a vis the other side or the other side’s lawyer, and in court if your case goes to court. In addition to performing the work on your file, the lawyer speaks on your behalf, to others you may not feel comfortable speaking with: particularly other lawyers or judges.
*Some lawyers are prepared to “parachute” into court to represent a client just for the court proceeding. This is not currently offered on Platform 2. Our philosophy is that effective representation in court depends on not just knowing the law, but on knowing your case well enough to truly speak for you. That’s why we offer retainer-based family law services through Merits Family Law.