Comments on Unbundling Legal Services

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It is much more interesting to post articles when they stimulate some discussion. The Legal Profession Blog, a member of the Law Professors Blog Network posted the following (you'll have to go to their article to hit their links):
"Update on Limited Representations: "Unbundling" Discrete Legal Tasks
As a follow-up to our posts here and here on "unbundling" and various states' movements toward limited representations, consider this ABA Journal eReport story on the Massachusetts pilot project for family courts we previously noted here. The Louisville, Kentucky blogger Divorce Law Journal urges here that her state consider such a status, especially in divorce court: "Sounds like a promising solution to the courts being overwhelmed with unrepresented litigants," she writes. This was written by Professor Alan Childress at Tulane Law School.
Some of the comments posted to the post Unbundling Legal Services:
"Diana, it sounds like a great way to get sued to me. If there were some sort of qualified immunity built in, then it might work - but then there is another problem.
I can say that I'm tiring of the emphasis on whether the poorer members of the public get good service at a cheap price. Most practitioners need to make money at some of the "gimme" stuff just in order to make a living and maintain the facilities and staffing that litigants need to be available on the hard issues. This would be something that would make a frequently emotionally difficult living even harder. The problem with the proposed a la carte system is that while it might benefit an individual litigant on a short term basis, it will add stress to those who practice in the middle income tiers, in that it will ultimately drive up rates across the board (not to mention the repairs we'll have to accomplish when they

mess their cases up).
In any event, I think we (as an organized group of practitioners) spend too much time attempting to meet the legal needs of the working poor by performing free or undercompensated work which is genereally cracelessly criticized. Frankly, we have a greater problem with the folks in the middle income tiers, who are growing more squeezed as time goes on."
Posted by: Todd Bolus | December 05, 2006 at 01:48 PM

"Addressing Todd Bolus' comments: Lawyers are not concerned with helping the working poor.Their concerned, as indicated by Todd Bolus above, in profit."
Posted by: Barry McCarthy | December 06, 2006 at 05:52 AM

"Dang it - typos get me every time. "I meant "graceslessly criticized".
In any event, yes, we are interested in profit. I think I'd be hardpressed to find someone among the working poor who would gladly and eagerly do free work for a stranger, place that stranger's emotional angst upon their shoulders and become a whipping boy in the process. All this being done, mind you, while incurring the risk of liablity himself.
Perhaps when the working poor pay my secretary, my office rent, my mortgage, my office expenses, my medical insurance and my children's orthodontia, then they might have a claim to my labor.
In any event, a la carte, unbundled services will drive people out of practice,thereby rendering the hard issues unaffordable and unattainable to both the working poor and the bottom tier of the middle class.
While we're at it, I'm wondering if anyone has considered what happens to a pro se litigant who makes a misstep early in a case that haunts him or her at a later time. Some early decisions (like some agreed orders) are difficult to unwind, and they can set a tone early on, creating appellate issues where a different type of early handling would make an appeal unnecessary."
Posted by: Todd Bolus | December 06, 2006 at 09:43 AM

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