Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Limited Scope Representation and Unbundling of Legal Services

Q: What is unbundling?

A: Unbundling is a way that an attorney can help you with part of your case while you do part of it yourself. For example:

  • You can consult with an attorney to prepare or review your paperwork, but attend the hearing yourself;
  • You can represent yourself through the whole case, and periodically consult with an attorney who can coach you on the law, procedures and strategy;
  • You can do the preparation yourself and hire an attorney just to make the court appearance for you;
  • You can do your own investigation of the facts (“discovery”) and ask the attorney to assist you in putting the information in a format which is useful to the court;
  • You can ask the attorney to be on “standby” while you attend the settlement conference yourself.

Q: How is this different from using a mediator or paralegal?

A: Paralegals and document preparation services should only assist you in simple and uncontested divorces, and then only in the preparation of the paperwork. They cannot give you legal advice.

Q: How will I determine which parts I can do myself and when an attorney’s help will be important?

A: With coaching, you may be able to handle the whole case yourself, except for a few technical areas where the attorney can help you. It really is between you and the attorney how much of your case you hire them to do. If you do this, it is important to keep returning to the same attorney. Otherwise, you’re paying a new person to get up to speed on your case each time that you consult.

Some areas of the law are extremely technical and it is rare for people with legal training to handle them effectively. Among these are pension rights, stock options, and business interests. You will almost certainly need the assistance of an attorney if you have any of these issues in your case.

Q: Why it is important to discuss your case thoroughly with your attorney?

A: It is important to thoroughly discuss all the information and issues related to your case with your attorney before deciding which parts you want to do yourself and which ones the attorney will assist you with. It is equally important to realize that there may be issues presented by your case that you aren’t even aware of. If you don’t make sure to tell your attorney all important information about your case, how will you know?

Sometimes new issues will pop up after your case is started. If they do, it is important to advise your attorney and discuss them, so that you know the potential legal consequences to you. Remember that your attorney can only advise you on matters you tell him or her about, so it is essential that you provide complete information about your case.