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Building an Unbundling Practice – Making It Practical!

Lots of posts on “unbundling” recently. There seems to be (dare I say it) a movement in support of new business models for the delivery of legal services – including unbundling. By now we are familiar with the (long) list of benefits to the public, lawyers, courts and judges (1). But how can lawyers begin to shift their practices in this direction? I have two new practical tools to share with you:

  • An Unbundling Toolkit for Lawyers and Paralegals (version 1.0); and
  • The BC Family Unbundling Roster

The Toolkit version 1.0

During the surveys and interviews with family lawyers and paralegals conducted as part of Mediate BC’s Family Unbundled Legal Services Project, we heard time and time again that lawyers are interested in providing unbundled legal services to families but need a more structured approach to integrating unbundled services into their practice. They want simple, concrete tools, best practice guidelines, how to guides and, in particular, templates.

Courthouse Libraries BC has kindly stepped up to post version 1.0 of the Toolkit for Lawyers and Paralegals! Here is the index of materials in the Toolkit v1.0:

  1. An introduction about how to use the Toolkit
  2. Law Society of BC Code of Conduct Rules
  3. Best Practices for Unbundling
  4. Unbundling FAQs for Lawyers
  5. List of Resources
  6. How to use the retainer letter templates
  7. Retainer letter: One-time consultation
  8. Retainer letter: Ongoing consultation
  9. Schedule A – full list
  10. Schedule A – example of drafting documents
  11. Schedule A – example of coaching for mediation
  12. Flowchart for Lawyers
  13. Flowchart for Clients
  14. Client Intake for Unbundling

This is version 1.0 because we are still working on enhancing the existing materials and adding new ones. We need your help to do that. Please take a look, try them out and provide us with your feedback (to kari.boyle@shaw.ca).

The List of Resources includes links to key materials and websites of innovative lawyers in Canada and abroad who have embraced unbundling of various kinds. Take a look to get some creative ideas to make your practice lucrative, enjoyable and doable while serving citizens who often have no other options.

The BC Family Unbundling Roster

BC family lawyers, family mediators and, in particular, the public, told us that they did not know how to find lawyers willing to provide unbundled legal services. Many suggested a free public-facing list or roster that was hosted in a central place.

Mediate BC and Access to Justice BC are working with the Courthouse Libraries BC to create such a roster which will reside on the Clicklaw site – easily accessible to the public, intermediaries and the legal community. BC family lawyers can click here to fill out the simple application form (via Survey Monkey).

As an added bonus, lawyers have the option of agreeing to have their names and contact information shared with, and included in, a Canadian national database of lawyers providing unbundled legal services of all types. This national database is published by the National Self-Represented Litigants Project led by Dr. Julie Macfarlane. Inclusion in this database will give lawyers and their firms national exposure to families seeking unbundled legal services for BC-related matters.

Unbundling and the national database were recently showcased in a NSRLP video featuring BC’s Chief Justice Bauman. In addition, we recommend that you read Chief Justice Bauman’s newest blog post on unbundling here.

If you want to begin or enhance your unbundled legal practice take a look at these new tools and watch for more coming soon! I would be pleased to hear from you!

Kari D. Boyle
kari.boyle@shaw.ca
Project Manager, Mediate BC’s BC Family Unbundled Legal Services Project

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(1) If you need a refresher check out the Toolkit FAQ’s.

Comments

  1. As Kari points out, the Roster has been added to Clicklaw. It’s on the HelpMap feature such that individual roster lawyers are showing up as resources. This is not a bad marketing perk for lawyers who are also doing a good service by offering an alternative to more costly full-scope representation.
    To see the Roster in action look here: http://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/helpmap/service/1197

  2. Excellent post!!

    Also – FYI – Alberta is shortly rolling out it’s own Limited Scope Retainer Project, which will provide an online lawyer roster and which will also be engaging in lawyer and client surveying to gather data and information on unbundled legal work, culminating in a report to provide further guidance on how unbundling or limited scope work can best meet the needs of clients and lawyers.

    For more information, or for Alberta lawyers interested in becoming part of the project, please contact:

    – me, Robert Harvie – rgh@huckvale.ca
    – John-Paul Boyd – jpboyd@ucalgary.ca

    rgh@huckv

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