One anxiety that has held back expansion of unbundling is fear that malpractice carriers will be unhappy with their clients providing unbundled legal assistance. While this fear is largely dissipating, it is nice to see that one insurer’s blog has a sympathetic posting on unbundling. The post is by Robert Minto, Jr., CEO of ALPS Corporation and ALPS RRG.
One of the big “takeaways” from the [2013 Western States Bar] conference came in the form of a realization that one way or another legal services as we know them will unbundle around us if we don’t engage in the process and at least attempt to provide some direction. Several Bars, Washington State taking the lead, have actually begun the process of authorizing it by establishing rules to define, restrict and regulate how lawyers can unbundle, provide for appropriate confidentiality, and deliver legal services for a piece, but not all, of a transaction.
This issue ties nicely into delivering legal services to those of modest means. Take for example a pro se litigant faced with a mandatory mediation. A lawyer might be asked to just advise the client (a couple of consultations) on the ins and outs of the mediation process, or even to a limited representation (attend the mediation only), but have no further involvement in the process. I agree that this is not the ideal situation and that the client will get much better service and likely results by hiring the lawyer to do the whole thing. Reality has already proven that a certain segment of the population, especially younger people, will utilize Internet resources and attempt the process themselves. They feel that they are able and that full legal representation will cost more than they can afford.