Unbundling Legal Services Defined


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A briefing on what are "unbundled legal services", sometimes called "Limited Legal Services" and how this approach can serve consumer needs and the DIY consumer.

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  • Understand changing consumer patterns and how this shapes the market.
  • Increase in pro se. Family matters- some courts 80% at least one party is self-represented. Clogging courts- Opportunity here for unbundled legal services- Judges want pro se parties to have the benefit of legal advice and legal guidance.
  • Unbundling Legal Services Defined

    1. 1. Unbundling Legal Services <ul><li>Briefing on “Unbundled Legal Services” Richard S. Granat, J.D. CEO, DirectLaw, Inc. </li></ul>
    2. 2. Introduction and Background <ul><li>I Operate a Virtual Law Firm in MD and DC that offers unbundled legal services over the Internet in Family Law matters. </li></ul><ul><li>I am the Founder and CEO of DirectLaw , Inc., a company that provides a virtual law firm platform to solos and small law firms. </li></ul><ul><li>Co-Chair of the eLawyering Task Force of the Law Practice Management Section of the American Bar Association. </li></ul>
    3. 3. Unbundled Legal Services Defined <ul><li>What are “unbundled legal services?” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Breaking down roles of attorney into discrete tasks. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Often called – “Discrete Task Representation” or “Limited Legal Services.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Use your lawyer only for what only your lawyer can do.” – Woody Mosten </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Some History About This Movement <ul><li>The work of Woody Mosten – “Unbundling Legal Services” (LPM/ABA 2000). </li></ul><ul><li>The work of Susan Talia in “Unbundling Legal Services” in a family law practice. </li></ul><ul><li>Focus is on office based practice. </li></ul><ul><li>New focus is delivering unbundled legal services online. </li></ul>
    5. 5. Why all the interest now? <ul><li>New consumer attitudes towards lawyers. </li></ul><ul><li>Access to Justice Movement. </li></ul><ul><li>Courts are filled with pro se litigants. </li></ul><ul><li>The ascendency of the Internet is a driving factor. </li></ul>
    6. 6. New Generation of Consumers <ul><li>G.I. Generation: Born 1900-1945 </li></ul><ul><li>Baby Boomers: Born 1946-1964 </li></ul><ul><li>Gen X: Born 1965-1977 </li></ul><ul><li>Gen Y: Born:1978-2000 </li></ul><ul><li>Reclassification: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Internet Generation: Born: 1970-2000. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>First Waves- Coming of Age Now: 36 years old. </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. http://www.flickr.com/photos/13898469@N00/3098748832/ What do consumers of legal services want?
    8. 8. The new “Consumer” <ul><li>First Place to check for alternatives is the Net. </li></ul><ul><li>Seek Options and Comparison Shopping </li></ul><ul><li>Try Before They Buy. </li></ul><ul><li>Buy only what they need. </li></ul><ul><li>Convenience. </li></ul><ul><li>Efficiency. </li></ul>
    9. 9. What do consumers of legal services want? Prepared to sub optimize Dislike hourly rates Benefits of technology passed to them Certainty of cost Not need face-to-face A “good enough” service Lower price Different value proposition Convenience and speed To compare
    10. 10. The Latent Market for Legal Services <ul><li>Consumers can’t afford lawyers; consumers can’t afford $125-$150 an hour. </li></ul><ul><li>Consumers afraid of lawyers. Trust issue. </li></ul><ul><li>Dislike hourly rates. </li></ul><ul><li>Consumers perceive of lawyers as high risk. </li></ul><ul><li>Millions of middle class consumers are turning away from using lawyers. </li></ul>
    11. 11. The Range of Legal Services <ul><li>Some legal problems required complex analysis and complex skills. </li></ul><ul><li>Other legal problems are relatively easy to resolve. If you have a headache, you take an aspirin, you don’t call a brain surgeon. </li></ul><ul><li>Lawyers are trained to treat every problem as if it were brain surgery. </li></ul>
    12. 12. A Small Law Firm is a Retail Business <ul><li>Many solos and small law firms are a small retail business providing services to a range of clients around legal problems that are not very complex. </li></ul><ul><li>Many of these clients, want a less costly and standardized approach to resolving their legal problems. </li></ul><ul><li>By not offering “unbundled legal services” the law firm is not meeting the needs of these clients. </li></ul>
    13. 13. Meeting Client Needs <ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>You don’t have to provide full scale legal services to every client who wants to use your services. </li></ul>
    14. 14. Reality checks <ul><li>How much legal work can people realistically do for themselves? </li></ul><ul><li>Clients might be misled. </li></ul><ul><li>Clients might make mistakes. </li></ul><ul><li>How much can technology realistically help? </li></ul>
    15. 15. Conclusion: So Who Benefits? <ul><li>Solos and small law firms who want to compete against established law firms. </li></ul><ul><li>Clients benefit in a number of ways. </li></ul><ul><li>Established law firms who want to maintain market position and market share and acquire new clients. </li></ul>