Over the past few years, a new trend in the legal profession has started to emerge: limited scope representation. Also known as “unbundling”, limited scope representation means that instead of hiring an attorney to take your case from start to finish, you are only hiring the attorney to work on a certain aspect of your case.
Since Old Man Winter has started to ease up enough so that I can run outside, let’s use running a race as an analogy. Think of a divorce as a race. Under the traditional or full-service legal model, once you retain the attorney you would be paying that attorney to represent you from start to finish. The starting line represents drafting the petition or counter-petition and the finish line represents the court issuing a divorce decree.
Just as there are races of different distances and difficulties, each divorce will have different steps involved. In some divorces, the parties will go to mediation and reach an agreement there. In some cases, the parties will be unable to reach an agreement and will progress to trial. Under the traditional full- service model, the client is going to be paying the attorney all along the way. The bottom line is that the client has hired the attorney to run the entire race of that divorce in the courts on their behalf.
Now, let’s take a look at a divorce using limited scope representation. Instead of hiring the attorney to run the entire race, the client can hire the attorney to run certain portions of the race on their behalf. Essentially, the client has taken the race and turned it into a relay where the client is handling certain portions themselves and then handing off certain aspects to the attorney.
For example, a client can hire an attorney just to draft certain documents, such as the petition for dissolution, or even hire an attorney for a consultation just to give some initial advice as to the lay of the land and what the client will need to do. Essentially, limited scope representation is a way to accommodate the person who feels confident in handling portions of their representation themselves, but needs an assist when it comes to the more technical or complicated aspects of their matter. Another nice aspect of limited scope representation is that the scope can always be expanded if the attorney and client agree to the expansion.
Legal matters can be very stressful, especially in family law, so while you certainly may be capable of managing portions of your case on your own it is critical that you are aware of your state of mind at the time. Even if you think you need help on just a small portion of your divorce, reach out to an experienced Minnesota family law attorney. Although limited scope may be what you are looking for, it is absolutely critical that you work with a good attorney whom you can trust.
At Mundahl Law, we are proud to offer the option of limited scope representation to clients for whom this choice makes sense, and invite you to contact us for a consultation to discuss your legal needs.