January 01, 2014

Unbundling Legal Services in 2014: Recommendations for the Courts

By Forrest Mosten

In my 2001 article in this prestigious journal,1 I set forth the fundamental concepts of unbundling (limited-scope representation) and the reasons why this method of rendering legal services benefits litigants, the practicing bar, and the courts.

Over the past 12 years, to my great personal satisfaction, unbundling has become institutionalized within the legal landscape. In the current legal and economic environments, the availability of unbundled legal services is more important than ever. Unbundling enables lawyers who serve those of modest means to expand their outreach to a broader base of potential clients, providing greater access to affordable legal services across the country.

The purpose of this updated article is to give a brief overview of these developments and showcase the leadership of judges and court staff in making unbundling a reality in so many jurisdictions and to recommend ways to further expand unbundling’s contribution to increased legal access.

What Is Unbundling and How Does It Work?

Unbundling is not a new concept. Essentially, unbundling is an agreement between the client and the lawyer to limit the scope of services that the lawyer renders. There are numerous replicable models of lawyers successfully unbundling their services to increase legal access.

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