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Delivering unbundled legal services 2012

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  • Lawyer competent in speciality. Explain what the lawyer can do and not do. Make sure client undertands. Make sure for example that client understands that they have to do their own filing. Clear end of engagement document.
  • The Internet has a way of disaggregating a total service or product into its parts. If you don’t break down your service into discrete deliverables, some else will. When a consumer comparison shops and sees your hourly rate at $200.00 an hour and then compares what you offer with another lawyer offering a discrete tasks with a result for $450.00, they client will always chose the fixed price alternative.
  • Marc explain the significance of web-enabled documet automation and how it could work. Doc automation has been around for many years, primarily a desktop app whose focus is on the professional user NOT the direct consumer/SME

Transcript

  • 1. Delivering “Unbundled Legal Services” Over the Internet: Best Practices Richard S. Granat Co-Chair, eLawyering Task Force, LPM/American Bar Association President, DirectLaw, Inc.
  • 2. OverviewPart One: Introduction to Unbundling Legal ServicesPart Two: Ethical ConsiderationsPart Three: Best PracticesPart Four: Use of Technology to Deliver Unbundled Legal ServicesConclusion: Unbundling and the Future of Legal Services
  • 3. Part OneIntroduction to Unbundled Legal Services  What are unbundled legal services?  The DIY client  The market for unbundled services  ABA Model Rule 1.2 (c)  ABA Formal Opinion 07-446
  • 4. What are unbundled legal services? Unbundling legal services are a form of delivering legal services where the lawyer breaks down the tasks associated with a legal matter and only provides representation to the client pertaining to a portion of their legal needs. The client accepts the responsibility for doing the footwork for the remainder of their legal matter until it is completed. Also termed limited scope representation (LSR) or discrete task representation.
  • 5. Wikipedia DefinitionWikipedia now defines “unbundled legal services” as “a method of legal services in the United States in which an attorney and client agree to limit the scope of the attorney’s involvement in a law suit or other legal action, leaving responsibility to those other aspects of the case to the client.” See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unbundled_legal_services 5
  • 6. Legal Services a la Carte 6
  • 7. Is there a market for unbundled services? We live in a DIY society. Consumers understands that when a product or service has a DIY component, it tends to be more affordable. This is seen as an acceptable tradeoff for doing a little or a lot of the footwork. In the current economy, many lower to moderate income individuals are more than willing to do the extra work to save money on their legal needs. Online legal service companies, such as LegalZoom, have educated consumers about DIY legal services.
  • 8. Economic BenefitsExpands the market for legal services as price is reduced.Enables the lawyer to develop a relationship around a limited task which can lead to a larger engagement latter.Reduces “friction” and “risk” in selecting and working with an attorney.Generates legal fee revenue where there maybe none. 8
  • 9. Benefits of UnbundlingFor the public:  Greater access to the legal system for individuals of lower to moderate means.  Lessens burden on court system handling pro se litigants without guidanceFor the professional:  Attorneys may provide an alternative form of legal services to a different client base  Tap into the latent market for unbundled , online legal services
  • 10. Meeting Client NeedsUnderstanding the needs of your clients enables you to create a service mix that is responsive to a range of client needs at prices they can afford.You don’t have to provide full scale legal services to every client who wants to use your services. 10 10
  • 11. Why consumers choose unbundled services They like to control their legal matter and are the DIY- personality. They cannot afford to pay for full legal representation. They want the flexibility and convenience that unbundling may give them. They would benefit from alternative fee arrangements, such as the fixed fees and value billing that can accompany unbundled services. They are less intimidated and more comfortable using the Internet to communicate and accomplish their business needs rather than making an appointment at a traditional law office. They live in remote areas or for other reasons do not have the means to travel to a larger city to visit a physical law office.
  • 12. Un-Bundling as a Response: Reducing Friction 12
  • 13. Sample Unbundled Services Ghostwriting Drafting pleadings, briefs, declarations or orders Document review Conducting legal research Negotiating Making limited appearances Advising on court procedures and courtroom behavior Coaching on strategy or role playing Preparing exhibits Organizing discovery materials Drafting contracts and agreements Providing legal guidance or opinions Providing direction to resources such as local and state rules “Collaborative lawyering”
  • 14. Part Two:Ethical Considerations  Competent Representation (Rule 1.1)  Limiting the Scope (Rule 1.2 (c))  Ghostwriting Pleadings (ABA Formal Opinion 07-446 (2007)  Ethical considerations in operating a virtual law office are beyond the scope of this program.
  • 15. Ethics: Ground Rules 15
  • 16. Model Rule 1.2 (c)Revised in 2002, the ABA Model Rule 1.2(c) entitled “Scope of Representation” provides: (c) A lawyer may limit the scope of the representation if the limitation is reasonable under the circumstances and the client gives informed consent.”This rule has been either adopted or modified by forty-one states since its addition to the model rules.
  • 17. ABA Formal Opinion 07-446In 2007, the ABA published Formal Opinion 07- 446 which permits ghostwriting. This opinion states that an attorney could provide limited assistance to a pro se litigant by helping them prepare written materials without disclosing their involvement in the preparation to the court.The ABA Model Rule does not require that the lawyer reveal that he or she has provided assistance to the pro se litigant.
  • 18. Competent Representation Model Rule 1.1 states that clients must be provided with “competent” representation The attorney must decide if the limited scope representation is “reasonable” as required by Model Rule 1.2(c). The meaning of “reasonable” can be derived from a number of court cases where the court found :  limited scope representation to be acceptable when the client’s rights and interests were not harmed from the practice and  when the attorney was not committing any ethics violations from his or her limited representation of the client’s matter
  • 19. Limiting the Scope Model Rule 1.2 (c) The client needs to understand the nature of the limited scope representation from the beginning of the attorney/client relationship. Limited scope engagement agreements
  • 20. SummaryCheck state bar rules and local opinions.Defining What is reasonable Under the Circumstances.Clarifying Scope of Representation and Written Consent.Rejection letters in writing.Letter Ending the Client Relationship.Still check for Conflicts of Interest. 20
  • 21. Part Three: Best PracticesMaking the decision to unbundleLimited Scope Engagement AgreementsEducating Your ClientTermination of Limited Scope Arrangement
  • 22. Design Techniques Analyze legal projects into their component tasks. Sometimes you can bundle by issue. A task becomes a project that you can price separately. The legal service should be a stand-alone project or process that you can draw a boundary around so that the service is limited. Examples from an “Unbundled, Virtual” Family Law Practice → Service of process on an unknown spouse. → Drafting of a QDRO Order → Forms Bundled with Legal Advice for a Fixed Price
  • 23. Can this Case be Unbundled? The complexity of the matter: How much litigation is involved or is it a more clear-cut case? Has the client worked with another attorney before on the matter before seeking out limited scope assistance? The client’s personality: Will this client be able to handle the remainder of the case following the firm’s instructions and guidance? Does the client have the necessary education-level to complete the task? Would it be in the client’s best interests in this particular circumstance if the representation were consistent from start to finish? For example, in a complex child custody matter or a criminal defense case, the client’s best interests would most likely be served through continuous and consistent representation rather than unbundling. Does the client take instruction well? Is the client going to be comfortable communicating with the firm using the methods that the firm has set up for limited scope cases, such as a virtual law office or web conferencing rather than in-person office visits? Will the client consent to the limited representation?
  • 24. Educating the Client Checklists and detailed instructionsKeep Digital Records of your Interactions with the Client
  • 25. Limited Scope AgreementsProvide client with a handout listing steps involved inthe process of the case.Compare the full service representation to the limitedscope services that the client will be receiving from theattorney.Make sure the client is aware of the risks that may beinvolved in their case by not choosing full-servicerepresentation and help them to do a risk/benefitanalysis for this decision.List exactly what services will not be provided to theclient as well as listing their responsibilities.  Avoids misunderstandings or false expectations
  • 26. Termination of the RepresentationSend the client an email letter or other communication confirming that the limited engagement has come to an endThis lets the client know that this is the end of the services that they paid for
  • 27. Part FourUse of Technology to Deliver Unbundled Legal Services  On-Line vs. In-Office Practice  Document Automation and Assembly  Virtual Law Firms  Using technology to streamline the unbundling process and prevent malpractice
  • 28. Online vs. Offline PracticeOnline:  Clients have access to their own online case files with limited control  Online case and client management tool  Document Assembly and Automation  Must follow best practices for online delivery as well as unbundling  Offline:  Lends itself to unbundling in more practice areas and litigation- based unbundling  Process of unbundling cannot be as streamlined or automated
  • 29. The Power of On-Line ServiceDigital technology is a powerful dis-aggregator, enabling consumers to pick and choose what they want, and how and where they want it.Example is the music industry and how digital technology changed the value proposition for music.iTunes “Unbundled” music for all of us. 29 29
  • 30. The Leverage of an On-Line ServiceOnline:  Powerful disaggregator enabling consumers to pick and choose what they want, and how and where they want it.  A good example is the music industry and how Apple changed the value proposition by reducing the need to purchase albums. Most consumers purchase individual tracks.  You can increase your reach to web-savvy clients throughout a state.  You can use target marketing more effectively on the Internet. You can advertise on Google for a single unbundled service.
  • 31. Document Assembly & AutomationGood example of increasing leverage by automating a service and delivering it over the web. Once automated, the service can be delivered over a wide area.Lends itself to delegation to a paralegal for more routine aspects increasing leverage.Automating document assembly for online clientsIntuitive online formsPurchased directly by the client after attorney review or in conjunction with additional legal advice
  • 32. Automated Document Assembly Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed Excepteur sint occaecat sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed Lorem ipsum dolor cupidatat non proident, sunt in do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident,deseruntincididunt utid est laborum. magna culpado eiusmod sunt in mollit anim labore et dolore qui officia tempor aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation culpa qui officia deserunt mollit animaliqua. laborum.ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation id est Ut enim Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. ullamco laboris nisi ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore etDuis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse dolore magna Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed sint cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed Lorem ipsum do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna culpa qui officia occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Last Will & Testament do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, suntea commodo consequat. ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex in Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation aliqua. culpa qui officia deserunt aute irure dolor inlaborum. Duis mollit anim id est reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim idLorem ipsumullamco laboris consectetur adipisicing elit, sed est laborum. dolor sit amet, nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut laboreExcepteurmagna et dolore sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed Excepteur sint cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna sunt in culpa qui officia occaecat cupidatat non proident, ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud id est laborum. deserunt mollit anim exercitation Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit inExcepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. culpa qui officia Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magnaLorem ipsum dolor sitdeserunt mollit anim id est laborum. culpa qui officia amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit essedo eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation aliqua.aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed Lorem ipsum Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magnaDuis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sedcillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sintUt enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation aliqua. occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magnaoccaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. ullamco laboris deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Lorem ipsumaute irureamet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed esse aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitationdeserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Duis dolor sit dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna Lorem consequat. cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esseincididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. do eiusmod tempor cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse aliqua. cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. STAR T   Next question   Next question   Next question   Next question FINIS H You dont just ‘fill out’ an automated document – you create it. The answers you enter create a custom legal document, built from a library of state-specific and relevant legal text, that is tailored to client’s specific facts.
  • 33. Web deliveryCustomer journey  Sophisticated process to deliver law over the web  Telephone Advice can be added.  Each document can be reviewed and approved by the lawyer in charge.  Price is based on value add as distinguished from time spent which can be very little. Businessmax movie
  • 34. Intelligent Calculators Examples  Child Support Calculators  Bankruptcy Calculator  Bankruptcy Debt Calculators  Alimony Calculators  Alimony Recapture Calculator  Spousal Support Calculator
  • 35. What is a virtual law firm? A virtual law firm is a professional law practice that is located online through a secure client portal and is accessible to both the client and the attorney anywhere the parties may access the Internet. Other terminology: virtual lawyering, VLO, virtual law firm, web-based or web-enabled law practice, online law practice, delivering legal services online. Username: Password: LOGIN
  • 36. Case StudiesLegalZoom –not a law firm – http://www.legalzoom.comFamily Law Practice – http://www.mdfamilylawyer.comWills and Estates Practice – http://www.granatwills.comSee other examples at: http://www.mylawyer.com 36
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  • 41. Future of Unbundling in Legal Services Fixed priced legal services delivered online will become a dominant pattern. Movement from passive law firm web sites to interactive virtual law firms. Almost all solos and small law firms will have some form of a “client portal” in the next five years. Law firms delivering personal legal services to individuals will increase “unbundled” legal service offerings. Pressured by change in consumer behavior and competitors like LegalZoom.
  • 42. The Book to BuyLimited Scope Legal Services: Unbundling and the Self-Help Client by Stephanie Kimbro published by ABA/LPM, March 2012.
  • 43. Other Resources ABA Unbundling Resource Center http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/delivery/delunbund.html ABA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services white paper, “An Analysis of Rules That Enable Lawyers to Serve Pro Se Litigants,” http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/delivery/downloads/prose_wh ite_paper.pdf ABA’s Section of Litigation, Handbook on Limited Scope Assistance, a Report of the Modest Means Task Force (2003) http://www.abanet.org/litigation/taskforces/modest/report.pdf ABA ELawyering Task Force http://www.elawyering.com
  • 44. Contact Information Richard Granat President, DirectLaw, Inc. Founder, Granat Legal Services at MDFamilyLawyer.com Elawyering Blog: www.elawyeringredux.com rich@granat.com Twitter: @rgranat Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/richard.granat