(See also Saving Money)
“Unbundled Services” is a situation where an attorney sits on the sidelines of a case and coaches a client, helps draft legal documents for a client, or does other specific tasks as requested by the client. In an Unbundled Services situation, the attorney will NOT be tracking the case or managing the case, will not be appearing in Court, and will not be communicating directly with the Court or filing documents with the Court. Those responsibilities fall on the client.
The advantage of an unbundled services arrangement is that it is less expensive than full representation. The attorney is involved on the sidelines to the extent that the client wants the attorney to be involved, without getting into full representation. If you have a straight forward case and just need a little help, or if you need an agreement or other document drafted, this is a good way to go.
For our firm, if you need an agreement drafted, I would request an advanced retainer amount that is substantially less than my “full representation” retainer, and then time spent on drafting the document would be billed hourly out of the retainer. If the cost of time billed exceeds the retainer amount, the client would need to pay the excess cost. If the cost were less than the retainer, the remaining retainer would be refunded. If the unbundled services is more in the nature of “coaching”, then we just have you call to set appointments as needed, and the time spent at the appointment is billed and due at the end of the appointment.
The down side of unbundled services is that, because the attorney is not going to know when or how much help the client will need, other clients who are in “full representation” status are going to get priority. For example, if an unbundled client contacts the attorney and needs something quickly drafted, but the attorney is tied up with her other full representation cases, then the attorney may have to tell the unbundled client that she cannot do the work and that the person needs to find someone else.
The Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 11(b) describes unbundled services as follows:
Limited Representation. An attorney may undertake to provide limited representation in accordance with Colo.RPC 1.2 to a pro se party involved in a court proceeding. Pleadings or papers filed by the pro se party that were prepared with the drafting assistance of the attorney shall include the attorney's name, address, telephone number and registration number. The attorney shall advise the pro se party that such pleading or other paper must contain this statement.
In helping to draft the pleading or paper filed by the pro se party, the attorney certifies that, to the best of the attorney's knowledge, information and belief, this pleading or paper is (1) well-grounded in fact based upon a reasonable inquiry of the pro se party by the attorney, (2) is warranted by existing law or a good faith argument for the extension, modification or reversal of existing law, and (3) is not interposed for any improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation.
The attorney in providing such drafting assistance may rely on the pro se party's representation of facts, unless the attorney has reason to believe that such representations are false or materially insufficient, in which instance the attorney shall make an independent reasonable inquiry into the facts. Assistance by an attorney to a pro se party in filling out pre-printed and electronically published forms that are issued through the judicial branch for use in court are not subject to the certification and attorney name disclosure requirements of this Rule 11(b).
Limited representation of a pro se party under this Rule 11(b) shall not constitute an entry of appearance by the attorney for purposes of C.R.C.P. 121, section 1-1 or C.R.C.P. 5(b), and does not authorize or require the service of papers upon the attorney. Representation of the pro se party by the attorney at any proceeding before a judge, magistrate, or other judicial officer on behalf of the pro se party constitutes an entry of an appearance pursuant to C.R.C.P. 121, section 1-1. The attorney's violation of this Rule 11(b) may subject the attorney to the sanctions provided in C.R.C.P. 11(a).