The answer is – lots! But we need to start at the beginning. What does it mean when a lawyer says that they offer unbundled services?

In the traditional model, the client hires the lawyer who then normally looks after the client’s legal issues from beginning to end. It is expected that the lawyer will look after all aspects that are related to the original reason why the client hired the lawyer in the first place.

For example, if a client is charged with a criminal offense, and then the client hires a lawyer, the lawyer will normally, among other things: conduct the bail hearing if necessary, gather disclosure and review it with the client, make recommendations with respect to pleas, prepare evidence and witnesses for trial, issues subpoenas and notices if necessary, prepare cross-examination, conduct the trial and prepare sentencing submissions in case of a finding of guilt.

In the unbundled model, however, the client wishes to only hire the lawyer for a limited scope retainer and the lawyer may end up only doing one, or a few,

of the things noted above. It is understood between the lawyer and client, that the lawyer is not going to be acting on all aspects of the file. That is why, when offering unbundled services, the retainer is often referred to as a limited scope retainer.

In 2010, the Alberta Rules of Court were amended to permit limited scope retainers. It was recognized that many clients are choosing to represent themselves. Those people are often confident and determined, but need a bit of a boost, here or there in resolving their legal matters.

A client seeking assistance may look for a lawyer offering unbundled legal services as it will normally be less expensive. The client only pays for the service requested.

For example, a couple who have decided to part ways may have worked out all of the details but simply want some assistance in putting their agreement to paper. In another situation, maybe the couple have resolved everything except spousal support. Rather than hiring a lawyer to address all of the matters between the separating couple, clients could hire a lawyer to complete one or two discreet services.

If something more is required than was originally agreed upon or the client decides that they would like assistance with something else, the lawyer and client enter into a new retainer to address the service to be added. Clients keep control over the process and can be confident that costs will not balloon unexpectedly.

The unbundled model can be used is many legal contexts. In the past, our firm has helped clients who were mainly representing themselves but needed help with:

* Some legal advice
* Some legal research
* Drafting of documents like a Charter Notice, an application, an affidavit or a court form
* Coaching or preparation for a hearing
* Reviewing legal documents and giving opinions

If you, or someone you know, is trying to represent themselves but could use some assistance with one or two aspects of their file, call us to see how we can help. You have more choices than just hire a lawyer or do it all on your own.

Consult a Gunn Lawyer to Explore Your Legal Options

Don’t face legal challenges alone. Contact Gunn Law Group today to discuss your legal needs and explore your options. Our team of experienced lawyers is here to provide you with the guidance and representation you require.

Call Us at (780) 488-4460

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