An Example of Unbundling of Legal Services

As you will see if you search my blog for “unbundling”, “unbundled legal services”, or “future of the law”, I have created some carefully tailored legal services that permit us to help a person on a limited budget.

These services include a “legal checkup”. I revised my post on that topic just a few days ago. Here it is if you are interested.

Let me give  you an example of how unbundling allowed me to help a person who simply could not afford to hire me to represent him.

Details have been changed to protect and respect confidentiality. The people had been together a long time. Had adult children.

Fixed incomes. No significant real estate. Accumulated “stuff”, personal property, all at the former family residence with the wife. Very small retirement fund.

In two hours, we prepared our responses and counter to the wife’s divorce packet, ascertained the significance of some past violence between them, determined their debt is essentially uncollectible, gave him the name of a good bankruptcy lawyer for a consult “just in case”, directed him to the Social Security Office to ascertain what would happen to his/her benefit checks in the event of a divorce.

Provided him my article on “equitable distribution of property and debts”. Here it is:

Provided him a copy of WV’s Alimony Statute. Gave him my handouts “Divorce 101”:

Ghost wrote his Answer to Divorce Petition, his counter-petition, his motion for temporary relief, his financial affidavit, his Bureau of Child Support mandatory application, affidavits of verification, and envelopes to take the original to the circuit clerk (signed only by him), his wife’s lawyer, and to the family court.

Also, gave him “The Nuts and Bolts of Family Court”:

Gave him my “take” on his adversary, a very competent and honorable lawyer who I believe will treat him with respect.

Called the lawyer, explained to his assistant the husband cannot afford to hire me, but that I had ghostwritten some of his pleadings. Told him and the client that I will look over any agreement the wife’s lawyer drafts and give it my best assessment.

The gentleman and I agreed that it would be much better for him to hire me, retainer $2500-$3000, but got him to promise he would call before signing anything. Duffy the therapy dog was a big comfort to him. He walked out two and a half hours after arriving with much, much more information than he had before, and his mandatory responsive pleadings.

He said he felt he had got his money’s worth, especially since can call me a few times at no further charge. He has. The articles and forms we shared took several dozen hours to compile.  The Pathagorized pleadings would have taken him hours to fill out, and he did not know how to fill them out. I just “filled in the blank” on the Pathagorized documents: reference

He walked out with a manila folder with a copy of his response, for his adversary, the family court, and the original answer, counter-petition, and motion for temporary relief for the Clerk of the Circuit Court.

It isn’t law school, but you can’t have law school or a lawyer representing you in court for $500. I am proud of this work and hope the idea spreads.

Remember, it is called “unbundling”, and it can work surprisingly well.

This post was written by Burton Hunter

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