Unbundled Legal Services

THE NEXT BEST THING TO FULL REPRESENTATION.

Want to Save Money But Still Get Help from an Attorney?—the World of “Unbundled Services”

Many people facing legal issues are scared of the unknown.  Other individuals know they have a difficult case, but cannot afford to pay an attorney for all aspects of a case. It is not uncommon for a case that goes to trial to cost thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars by the time it is finished.

Many cases in Oregon are proceeding without the assistance of attorneys, maybe upwards of 75% of civil cases filed in Oregon trial courts involve at least one pro se (self-represented) party, many of whom are of limited means.  It is quite conceivable, however, that many of those people without attorneys would benefit from professional legal services, even if on a limited basis.

There are some agencies (including St. Andrews Legal Clinic and the Oregon State Bar limited means program) that provide free or reduced fee legal services, but it is difficult to receive this sort of help. Generally, you can only receive free legal services in criminal cases or when parenting rights are challenged AND you meet the income  requirements. As a result, the Oregon Supreme Court recognized the need for limited scope representation in Oregon to permit attorneys to provide “unbundled services.”

What are Unbundled Services?

Unbundled legal services, also known as limited-scope services, are legal services that are broken down and offered as individualized legal services, instead of “bundled” legal services—which usually refer back to full-scope or full legal representation. Goodfellow & Cottle makes it possible (and financially practical) for an individual to receive vital legal assistance by offering unbundled legal services. This is done through a limited scope of services agreement, which outlines the services you request and the extent to which we will represent you as an attorney.  

Lawyers that file a ”Notice of Representation” are providing a client with all services necessary in the representation of his or her case through the conclusion of the matter. Each service or task that the attorney provides can be thought of as a stick in a “bundle.” When a Goodfellow & Cottle attorney provides “unbundled” services, the attorney is assisting the client in a few of the tasks necessary to help with his or her case and the client is responsible for the remaining tasks (or sticks in the “bundle). Essentially, the attorney is providing partial representation to the client based on his or her needs.

Examples of Unbundled Services:

  • Legal advice by in person visits, e-mail, or telephone calls
  • Evaluation of a client’s case and advising a client of his or her rights periodically  
  • Guidance for preparing documents
  • Drafting documents for a client
  • Factual investigations: contacting witnesses, background searches, in-depth interviews of client 
  • Legal research and analysis
  • Assisting with discovery: interrogatories, depositions and/or requests for document production
  • Planning for negotiations, including simulated role playing with client
  • Attending settlement conferences and/or mediation
  • Planning for court appearances made by client, including stimulated role playing with client
  • Counseling client for a review or appeal 

What do Unbundled Services Not Cover?

Generally, an attorney will not represent a person in court if he or she is providing unbundled services. In order to competently appear in court for a client, an attorney has to be prepared in all aspects of the case.  This includes communication with the client, preparing proper documents in advance of a hearing or trial, preparing for friendly and/or potentially hostile witnesses and doing anything else that is typically necessary to get ready for court. Accordingly, limited scope representation by an attorney is generally not suited for court appearances.

It is also important to remember, if you choose to have an attorney represent you in a limited nature, you are ultimately responsible for your case and the outcome. Without entering a general appearance, an attorney may not have all the facts to adequately or appropriately help you, even with the discrete tasks you may have asked of him or her.

You must honestly ask yourself whether you are capable of representing yourself for the majority of your case, or whether it might be better to have an attorney represent you generally. If you are organized, prepared and do not have complex issues in your case, you might be a great candidate to receive unbundled legal services.   

Other Limited Scope Considerations 

Keep in mind that this type of approach to representation is not right for everyone and should only be employed when cases are fairly simple and acting as a pro se litigant will not be a detriment to your case. Consider a limited scope of service agreement for your representation if: 

    - You anticipate the other side will behave ethically and honestly in the proceedings

    - You have an understanding of the basic issues of your case  

    - You are comfortable and prepared to appear in court to represent yourself

    - You do not need your lawyer to handle correspondence between you and the opposing party's legal counsel

Costs of Unbundled Services

Goodfellow & Cottle provides unbundled services at either a flat rate or an hourly rate, depending on the task that is requested by the client. The cost of unbundled services is almost always less than general representation by an attorney. If you are unsure if limited scope representation is right for you, Goodfellow & Cottle provides comprehensive legal consultations to assist your decision.

Specific Cost Examples:

Self-Represented or “Pro Se” Coaching. This includes meeting with one of our attorneys in person or over the telephone, who will listen to the facts of your case and apply the relevant law to your issues. We will also provide substantive and procedural guidance. Depending on your needs, our attorneys are also available to help you create a litigation strategy, review documents, draft documents, conduct discovery, prepare your witnesses and help you prepare for your hearing or trial.

    - $200 per hour in person

    - $175 per hour by telephone

Document Review. Document review includes a complete review of your legal pleadings and documents by one of our attorneys, who will discuss all associated issues

    - $200 per hour

Document/Contract/Petition/Complaint Drafting. One of our attorneys will help you draft a Petition, Response, Complaint, Motion, Declaration, Affidavit, Order, Judgment, Memorandum, letter, or most other types of documents.

    - $200 per hour

Correspondence. Correspondence includes communicating with other people on your behalf, through telephone calls, letters, emails, text messages, video conferencing and/or social media.

    - $200 per hour

Legal Research. Legal research includes our attorneys researching legal issues relevant to your matter. Research sources include Oregon Revised Statutes, Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure, Uniform Trial Court Rules, applicable Supplementary Local Rules, Oregon Administrative Rules and relevant case law. Our attorneys will quote a flat rate then provide advice following the researched issues.

 

To schedule a consultation with a Goodfellow & Cottle attorney, CALL 503-472-9090 or 503-217-5149
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