When people think of hiring an attorney, they are usually thinking of hiring an attorney for “full scope representation.” Full scope representation means that the attorney represents the client throughout the entire case, filing all pleadings, speaking with the other party’s attorney, and going to trial. Getting help from an attorney is expensive, even at sliding scale rates. Hiring an attorney for full scope representation often results in significant legal fees.

 What many people don’t realize is that there is another, less expensive option: “unbundled” legal services.

Unbundled legal services, or limited scope representation, means hiring an attorney to help you during only a part of your case. Getting unbundled legal services is like going to a restaurant and ordering “á la carte” — picking and choosing exactly what you want and not getting what you don’t want. Picking and choosing what legal services you actually need help with can help you minimize your attorney fee costs. It is important to note that even if you start with unbundled legal services, you can always change your mind later and hire an attorney for full scope representation.

The Commons Law Center offers a couple different kinds of unbundled legal services.

  1. Flat-Fee Packages: The Commons offers several flat-fee unbundled packages. For example, say you want to file for divorce. You can hire The Commons to draft up all of the initial paperwork that you need to file with the court to start your divorce case and set you up for success. The Commons will appear as your attorney of record only regarding those initial filings, and you will represent yourself in your case on all other matters unless you later hire a full-scope attorney. All of our flat-fee packages come with a final letter with information about the next steps you should take and specific recommendations about your particular legal matter.

If you want to hire an attorney for a flat-fee drafting project that you do not see listed in our available unbundled packages, please reach out. We may be able to create an unbundled flat-fee package that meets your needs.

  • Behind-the-Scenes Consultation: If you are comfortable drafting your own pleadings, negotiating with the other side, and appearing in court on your own behalf, but want some behind-the-scenes guidance, we may be able to help. The Commons can give you strategy recommendations about settlement negotiations and court hearings. We can also advise you about what information you should and should not include in your filings. This kind of unbundled legal service is charged at an hourly consultation rate as you go. We would not be appearing as your attorney of record unless at some point you hired us for full scope representation, a flat-fee package, or to represent you at a court hearing (see below).
  • Preparation for and Representation at a Court Hearing: Do you have an upcoming hearing that you would like an attorney to prepare for, represent you at, and try your case? If we have at least one month to be able to prepare, it may be possible to retain us to represent you just at your upcoming hearing. Hearings we may be able to appear at on a limited scope basis include temporary issues hearings, contested restraining order hearings, immediate danger hearings, and others. The Commons will appear as your attorney of record only regarding that hearing, and you will represent yourself in your case on all other matters unless you later hire a full-scope attorney.

  Do you think unbundled legal services might be a good fit for you? Call us at 503-850-0811 to set up an intake consultation with one of our attorneys. Please let our intake specialist know that you are interested in unbundled legal services. Your legal services options will then be discussed during your intake consultation with an attorney.

  There are some risks associated with limited scope representation, and we will discuss those with you at your intake consultation. We do not generally recommend unbundled legal services when you have experienced domestic violence from or have a high conflict relationship with the other party.

About the author 

Staff Attorneys

Articles co-written by our team of attorneys.

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