Unbundled Legal Services
“Guided Self Help” Innovation
Save Up To 50% in Legal Fees
Does Guided Self Help Suit Your Legal Needs?
Goldman Law aims to empower and assist individuals who choose to represent themselves in family law and other matters. The firm has developed an innovative legal service model that is unbundled, online, yet personal, respectful, and responsive. This model is designed to align with modern Australian life and expectations of value in professional service.
Guided Self Help services are suitable for those who are comfortable working independently.
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What Is The Guided Self Help Process?
Four Steps To Save You 50% in Legal Fees
Understanding how Goldman Law can assist with an initial chat, which is a free case or matter evaluation. Not every person or every is suitable for Guided Self Help.
- We will use Microsoft Teams and create you as an external user with your own log in to our server.
- We send our client agreement and terms of business to you, the client and payment into our trust account can be made as well as identity verification as required.
- The client then starts instructing Goldman Law via chat, video, whiteboards and precedents to undertake their legal requirements as well upload their work for review or addition.
- We can prepare or assist or swear affidavits, Applications in a case, contraventions, Divorce, BFA’s, pre-trial orders, mediation, consent orders to name some family law services.
Guided Self Help & Unbundled Legal Services?
Guided Self Help is our innovative legal product which embodies the concept of unbundled legal services, or limited scope representation or discrete task representation.
Simply, these notions refer to a practice where a lawyer and a client agree to limit the scope of the lawyers involvement in a legal matter, leaving some or part of the responsibility for handling the case to the client. This is a departure from the traditional full-service representation where a solicitor handles all aspects of a case.
For instance, the lawyer might only provide legal advice, draft documents, or represent the client in court for a specific issue. The client, on the other hand, might handle tasks such as gathering and organizing documents, filing paperwork with the court, or even representing themselves in court proceedings.
Advantages and Dis-Advantages of Guided Self Help
Guided Self Help may not be suitable for all cases, especially complex ones that require extensive legal knowledge and experience. It’s important for clients to understand their responsibilities and the potential risks before choosing this type of legal service.
- Cost-Effective: Unbundled services can be significantly cheaper than traditional full-service representation because clients only pay for the specific services they need.
- Accessibility: These services can make legal assistance more accessible to individuals who cannot afford full representation.
- Client Empowerment: Clients have more control over their case and can be more involved in the process.
- Flexibility: Clients can choose to handle parts of their case that they feel comfortable with and hire a lawyer for more complex aspects.
- Efficiency: For lawyers, unbundled services can be an efficient way to manage their workload, as they are only responsible for specific tasks.
- Limited Assistance: Unbundled services may not be suitable for complex cases that require extensive legal knowledge and experience.
- Risk of Misunderstanding: Clients may not fully understand the legal implications of their case and could make mistakes if they handle parts of it themselves.
- Incomplete Representation: There may be aspects of a case that a client is unaware of or does not understand, which could lead to problems if those aspects are not handled by a professional.
- Potential for Confusion: There can be confusion about the scope of the lawyers role, which could lead to misunderstandings or disputes.
- Ethical and Malpractice Concerns: For lawyers, there can be ethical and malpractice concerns if the client does not fully understand the limited nature of the representation.
In conclusion, while Guided Self Help can provide a more affordable and flexible option for legal representation, they are not suitable for all cases or all clients.
Guided Self Help & Suitable Legal Areas
Guided Self Help services can be suitable for a variety of legal areas, particularly those where the legal tasks can be clearly defined and separated. Here are some areas where unbundled legal services are often used:
- Family Law: This can include divorce, child custody, child support, and spousal support cases. For example, a client might hire a lawyer to draft a divorce agreement but handle the filing and court appearances themselves.
- Estate Planning: Clients may hire a lawyer to draft a will or trust, but handle the gathering of information and assets themselves.
- Real Estate: In certain real estate transactions, a client might hire a lawyer to review a lease, but handle negotiations and inspections themselves.
- Business Law: Small business owners might hire a lawyer to draft or review contracts, but handle negotiations and other business matters themselves.
- Cyber or Digital Law: Clients might hire a lawyer to prepare rules, forms or represent them in a specific hearing, but handle other aspects of the negotiation process themselves.
- Civil Litigation: In civil cases, a client might hire a lawyer to draft a complaint or motion, but handle the filing and serving of documents themselves.
Complex cases that require extensive legal knowledge and experience, or cases where the stakes are high, may not be appropriate for unbundled services. The suitability of unbundled services also depends on the client’s ability to handle certain legal tasks themselves.
Guided Self Help Quick Facts & Fees 2023
The concept of unbundled legal services was popularized by Forrest S. Mosten in his seminal article "Unbundling of Legal Services and the Family Lawyer," published in the Family Law Quarterly in 1994. In this article, Mosten encouraged family lawyers to rethink the traditional lawyer-client relationship and the delivery model of legal services. He proposed three unbundled legal services delivery models: the legal counselor, the consulting lawyer for clients participating in mediation, and preventative legal health care. This marked a significant shift in the perception and practice of legal services, paving the way for the widespread adoption of unbundled legal services today.
The guide on unbundled legal services by the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) provides comprehensive information for lawyers considering offering such services. Here are the key points:
- **Considerations Before Taking on a Limited Representation Case**: Not all cases are suitable for unbundled legal services. The guide suggests considering factors such as the complexity of the case, the ability of the client to handle certain aspects of the case, and any looming critical deadlines.
- **Screening Potential Clients**: Some clients may not be suitable for limited scope representation. The guide advises assessing the client's capacity to carry out their portion of the legal work, their financial resources, and their ability to appear in court on their own.
- **Written Agreement**: While not required by professional conduct rules, the guide recommends having a written agreement with the client that clearly outlines the scope of the unbundled services.
- **Avoiding Conflicts of Interest**: The guide emphasizes that a lawyer cannot provide unbundled representation to a self-represented litigant while simultaneously representing the opposing party.
- **Communication with the Client**: The guide advises that the lawyer must ensure the client understands the limited scope of the representation, as well as the risks and available alternatives.
- **Terminating Representation**: If the lawyer has made an appearance in court, they must follow specific procedures to terminate their representation.
- **Avoidable Missteps**: The guide lists common but avoidable mistakes related to limited scope representation, such as failing to obtain informed written consent from the client, failing to define the scope of engagement clearly, and failing to manage the client's expectations.
- **Training and Resources**: The guide provides links to resources for training on providing unbundled legal services and guidance on building an unbundled practice.
Unbundled legal services are gaining traction in several countries, particularly in those with a high demand for affordable legal services. Here are some of the countries where unbundled legal services are popular:
- United States: Unbundled legal services are becoming increasingly popular in the U.S., particularly in areas such as family law, estate planning, and civil litigation. The American Bar Association (ABA) has endorsed unbundling as a means of increasing access to legal services, and many states have rules and ethical opinions supporting unbundled legal services.
- Canada: Unbundled legal services are also gaining popularity in Canada, particularly in British Columbia, where the Law Society of British Columbia has provided guidelines for lawyers providing unbundled legal services.
- Australia: In Australia, unbundled legal services are becoming more common, particularly in family law. The Australian Law Reform Commission has recognized unbundled legal services as a way to improve access to justice.
- United Kingdom: In the UK, unbundled legal services are being used as a way to provide more affordable legal services, particularly in the wake of cuts to legal aid.
It's important to note that the popularity and acceptance of unbundled legal services can vary widely, even within a single country, depending on factors such as local rules and regulations, the legal culture, and the specific needs of the local population.
The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has recognized the importance of unbundled legal services as a way to improve access to justice, particularly in the family law system. Here are some key points from the ALRC's discussions on this topic:
- Accessibility: The ALRC emphasizes the importance of making the family law system accessible to all families who require its services. This includes enhancing access to information and assistance to navigate the different services and processes within the family law system.
- Affordability: The cost of legal services can be a significant barrier to access to justice. The ALRC asks what changes could be made to the family law system to allow family disputes to be resolved more affordably.
- Navigation Assistance: The ALRC discusses the potential benefits of having a case worker or 'navigator' available to assist individuals or families with multiple needs to navigate the family law system, from the time of first contact to resolution. A navigator could assist clients to identify and access services that are relevant to their needs, as well as monitor the person’s engagement with these services and assist them through the court process where appropriate.
- Technology: The ALRC also mentions the potential use of technology to assist client families to navigate the family law system. For example, the use of mobile apps that provide a digital link and coordination system for registry staff, judicial officers, lawyers, clinicians, and court users.
- Cultural Safety: The ALRC also discusses the need to improve accessibility of the family law system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and provide families with culturally safe services.
These points indicate that the ALRC recognizes the potential of unbundled legal services to improve access to justice, particularly for those who may face barriers to accessing full legal representation. However, they also highlight the need for careful implementation and support systems to ensure that clients can effectively navigate the system and access the services they need.
These can be significant, but they vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case and the legal services required. These typically are 50%.
Here are some insights from the search results:
- According to an article from Texas Law Help, limited scope representation, which is another term for unbundled legal services, is almost always more affordable than hiring a lawyer to handle the entire case. For instance, you might do the work on your case by yourself, including going to court, other than paying a lawyer to review your court paperwork, give you legal advice, explain a contract or other legal papers to you before you sign it, prepare a checklist for you on how you can represent yourself in a case, write a letter for you, or coach you on negotiation strategies and trial tips. The cost of limited scope representation depends on which lawyer you hire and how much work you hire the lawyer to do. Some lawyers may even agree to perform work at a reduced cost as a courtesy or as a way to give back to the community.
- An article from the University of Denver suggests that unbundled legal services can help address the challenges faced by self-represented litigants and the family law system. The provision of unbundled legal services allows self-represented litigants to obtain professional assistance at crucial junctures in their progress through the legal system without having to pay a lawyer for the entire case. Despite the often high cost of legal representation, many self-represented litigants can afford and do choose to pay lawyers for some level of representation, related to specific tasks.
Please note that the actual cost savings will depend on various factors, including the complexity of the case, the rates of the lawyer providing the unbundled services, and the amount of work the client is able to do on their own. It's also important to remember that while unbundled legal services can be more affordable, they may not be suitable for all types of cases or situations.