Thanks to Richard Zorza for spotting this gem. Late last week, Robert Minto, Jr., CEO and Executive Chair of ALPS Corporation, a nationally-respected attorneys malpractice insurance carrier, posted a detailed commentary entitled, “The Unbundling of Legal Services; Will Lawyers do it or Leave it to Consumers?”
There are a lot of take-aways from Minto’s observations. I urge you to read it thoroughly. When you do, you will likely see the point that struck Minto while he attended the 2013 Western States Bar Conference: that Limited Scope Representation (what he calls “unbundling”) is here, it is happening, it is moving ahead with or without us.
Still hesitant to embrace it? Think long and hard about your real reasons. Done correctly, it is less risky that open-ended, full-scope representation, exposes you to less financial loss, and actually self-perpetuates as your clients return over and over to “buy more stuff” once they are sold on the concept.
There is a lot more in the book, including detailed ethics discussion, so if you have not downloaded your copy (or requested the PDF by email), then do it today. Limited Scope Representation: it’s happening, with or without you. Make sure you are not left out!
Over the past decade or so, several terms have been offered to label the type of practice I describe in the book: “unbundling,” “limited scope representation,” and “limited advocacy” are just a few. They may be interchangeable in most cases, but not everyone means the same thing when they use even the same labels. The label “Limited Scope Representation” that I use comes straight from the Model Rules of Professional Responsibility that expressly permit such agreements.
When a lawyer and client agree to limit the scope of the lawyer’s services, they may or may not mean what another person calls “unbundling.” But what they choose to call it does not matter. It really only matters that the lawyer and client have a clear agreement on who will do what, by when and for what fee.
You will probably find that prospective clients do not use any of these labels. They want a “cheap lawyer” or someone who provides “low cost legal services,” if you think in search engine terms. Rather than focus on the name, think about how to communicate your low fees for specific, limited services in appropriate cases clearly. You will get more inquiries that way.
Take a page from the burger business: they sell a lot more “french fries” than they do “deep fried slices of white potato!”