The Pros and Cons of Using Limited Attorney Representation

In these days when every dollar must do the work of two or three,  it may be useful in your family law matter to consider limited scope representation also known as unbundled legal services.    As a do-it-yourself litigant ( pro se litigant)  you may need some help in certain areas of your case.  Attorneys may offer limited representation also known as unbundled services to pro se litigants on an hourly basis or from a menu of services.    You may want to consider the advantages and the risks in deciding whether to use limited scope representation or unbundled legal services in your legal matter.       


*It costs less when you do most of the work by yourself and bring in a lawyer only when you need one.

 *It allows you to stay in control.  You decide what issues to negotiate and when to discuss them.

 *You have a great deal of power in negotiating with the other party.  You are free to make concessions that make sense to you.

 *Because unbundling almost inevitably results in more contact between you and the other party, you can often work out the issues between the two of you without going to court.

 *If you are dealing with a party who hired a lawyer, unbundling can give you a critical negotiating advantage.  Every time there is a meeting involving the other party’s lawyer, every time the other party’s lawyer writes a letter or makes a phone call, the other party pays more money than it is costing you, the other party may eventually make concessions to end the fighting.


* With all the freedom of unbundling comes the responsibility.

* Your attorney can give you important background information and make suggestions, but it is your job to apply it to your case and carry through.

 *It is up to you to make sure that you file all of your papers with the court on time and make all deadlines.

* You are responsible for gathering all the information that you need.

 *If you end up going to court, it is especially important that you ask enough questions and understand your attorney’s advice.  Judges tend to be impatient with litigants who are not represented if they talk about issues and things that the judge does not need to know or ask questions that the judge expects lawyers to know already or make speeches about things that may seem important to the litigant, but that will not actually affect the judge’s decision.  

*As a pro se litigant you are held to the professional standards as a licensed attorney. 


About Kate Willmore, Esq.

Kate Willmore, Saint Cloud, Minnesota, divorce, custody and family attorney brings over 25 years experience to every client's legal matter. *** Licensed in Minnesota and in California

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