Unbundled Legal Services

Tamara C. Murray accepts cases on a traditional hourly basis and also on a limited-scope, “unbundled” basis.  For individuals who cannot afford to hire an attorney for full representation, the unbundled option gives the client the ability to pay for the services he or she needs without committing to the long term expense of hiring an attorney full time.  Clients who chose this option are responsible for case management and complying with court deadlines.  The attorney does not enter an appearance on the Court record.

The Washington State Bar issued an advisory opinion on the topic of limited-scope representation in 1997:

“Unbundled legal services” [in the family law context] refers to the concept of a party engaging an attorney to take limited measures, such as helping to prepare initial pleadings and perform child-support calculations, without either the lawyer or the client being obligated to the other for the duration of the dissolution or modification proceedings. This measure would enable the attorney to charge a reasonable flat fee for defined services, and the client to control and budget for expenses. The Committee advises that assuming that both the original and subsequent representation agreements comply with RPC 1.2 and 1.5, RPC 1.8(a) does not apply to a separate, subsequent, limited engagement of the same attorney by the same former client.”

WSBA Advisory Opinion 1763

The following are examples of unbundled legal services.  This is not a comprehensive list as each case and individual has different needs at different stages:

  • Draft documents (pleadings, motions, declarations.
  • Calculate child support using specialized software.
  • Extended consultations to review documents, identify areas of concern, and make recommendations.
  • Coaching for upcoming court hearings and mediations.
  • Complete uncontested divorce packages for uncontested dissolutions.
  • Pay-as-you-go services (consultations, document preparation, coaching)
  • Uncontested divorce paperwork “ala carte”.
  • The attorney prepares the documents required by the client.  The package may include all of the documents to initiate and conclude your family law action or specific documents requested by the client at particular stages.
  • In most situations, the attorney will not enter an appearance with the court as your attorney of record.  The individual client is responsible for filing the documents with the Court, keeping apprised of all deadlines, and making court appearances as necessary.

Initial consultations for up to 30 minutes are offered at no charge.  Additional paid consultation rates are listed on the Rates page.