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Think of these services on a spectrum. On one end of the spectrum the client has no legal assistance at all. On the other end of the spectrum the client has retained a lawyer to represent them entirely.

Full representation is when a client hires (or retains) a lawyer. The lawyer does everything on the client's behalf including preparing the necessary paper work, speaking on behalf of the client in court, writing letters to the other person or their lawyer, negotiating with the other person or their lawyer about all the legal issues. The lawyer provides the client with advice and recommendations about strategy and settlement. Some clients are very involved at each step, while other clients rely heavily on their laywer's recommendations.

No legal assistance means that the client does everything without any advice or help from a lawyer. The client completes all their paperwork, figures out next steps, and negotiates directly with the other person or their lawyer.

■ What are limited scope or unbundled services?

There are choices in legal services.

In unbundled or limited scope services, you can hire a lawyer to do one or more specific pieces legal of work for you. You remain responsible for the rest of your matter.

For example you might retain a lawyer to prepare your documents for a specific court appearance. The scope of the lawyer's work ends once they deliver the documents to you. You would then be responsible to make sure the other side and the court get the documents and you would attend court on your own behalf.

As another example, you might retain a lawyer to come with you to a mediation. Anything outside the mediation would remain your responsibility.

In a limited scope service, the specific services that the lawyer will and will not provide are carefully outlined in an agreement between you and the lawyer.

Legal coaching is where you remain responsible for all parts of your legal matter. Your legal coach stays in the background, providing you with the education, advice, and confidence you need to represent yourself as capabably as possible.

If you retain me as your legal coach, but then decide that you would like me to actually do a piece of the work for you (rather than just coaching you through it), we can simply revise the retainer agreement.

Legal services include many different things like advice, writing, research, strategy, understanding financial information, ect...

It will depend on your level of comfort, your budget, and the time you have available. I am happy to help you to figure out what services would work best in your case.

■ How do I choose a lawyer?

It's all about 'fit'. And it depends on what you are looking for in a lawyer to do for you. You want to be clear about your goals and find someone who you feel you can work with to help achieve them.

■ Can't I just represent myself using information I find on the internet?

You don't ever have to have a lawyer. But because there is so much information available on the internet, it is hard to know what to rely on. The reputable sites will give you some very solid general information. Knowing how to apply the general information to your specific situation is the key. A lawyer is the bridge to help you achieve your goals in the most efficient way.

  • you stay in control about how much you spend
  • you decide when and in what way you get legal assistance
  • you become empowered