If you are looking for a less expensive way to divorce, you may want to consider limited scope representation or “unbundled services.” Unbundled legal services are just what the name sounds like. You enter into an agreement with your lawyer to work on specific projects that are fully identified and understood from the beginning. The lawyer is working on a project basis only. A full-service lawyer will undertake representation and do the work that he or she feels is in the client’s best interests. Many clients feel like full-service representation can become like a run-away train; once it gets going, it’s very difficult to get it to stop.
Unbundled services are not necessarily flat fee legal services. However, in many instances, such as preparing a specific document or set of documents, some lawyers will agree to a flat fee. The most important aspect of unbundled legal services is the client’s understanding of exactly what they are hiring the lawyer to do, and what the lawyer is not doing. Great care should be taken to read and understand the agreement and the scope of representation.
Limited Scope representation can take many different forms. For example, a client may hire a lawyer to be available for questions while the client enters into mediation. Or, a client may ask the lawyer for opinions and calculations in child support matters. Typically, in unbundled services or limited scope representation, the lawyer does not appear as counsel of record for a client without there being very clear boundaries. An example might be in the case of a spouse being sued for divorce in Ohio when that spouse has no connection to Ohio, has never lived here and cannot easily travel to Ohio to defend the lawsuit. In this example, a limited scope representation may be for purposes of pursuing a dismissal of the case only. If the case is dismissed, the representation ends. If the case is not dismissed, the scope of the representation would require either the expansion of the scope, or the dismissal of the lawyer. Other examples include drafting of Separation Agreements, Shared Parenting Plans, Judgment Entries, Deeds and Qualified Domestic Relations Orders.
John Zoller and Mary Biacsi offer limited scope representation. Please call our office at 216-241-2200 to schedule an appointment to see if limited scope representation is right for you.