Issue 128: May 2018
Centres partners with UNSW Law on new Future of Law and Innovation in the Profession project on unbundling legal services
The Centre is excited to be working on a new research project on the unbundling of legal services in partnership with Professor Michael Legg and UNSW Law. The project forms part of the FLIP Stream – a collaboration between UNSW Law and the Law Society of NSW to generate a stream of research which will consider and respond to the issues raised by the Law Society’s FLIP report on the future of legal practice in the light of technological change.
At the Australian Pro Bono Centre, we are always looking at how we can improve both the quantity and quality of pro bono legal work undertaken by the profession. Often our initiatives involve making it easier for lawyers to do pro bono by removing or reducing regulatory hurdles – our public indemnity insurance scheme covering in-house corporate and government lawyers for pro bono legal projects is an example of this.
Unbundling legal services is another area for the potential growth of pro bono, particularly in the context of innovation and the development of the legal profession into the future.
The concept of unbundling, also known as discrete task assistance and limited-scope representation, views legal work as a bundle of tasks to be ‘unbundled’ and then parcelled out to external legal providers (outsourced), kept in-house (insourced) or undertaken by the client. Whilst unbundling is certainly driven by innovation, technology and changing client needs and expectations, in practice there is nothing substantially new about lawyers providing limited or discrete legal assistance. For example, lawyers may assist with the preparation of court documentation but not act in the substantial proceedings.
The Centre’s research will focus on unbundling in the delivery of both commercial and pro bono legal services, unpick the various regulatory, ethical and practical issues for lawyers and investigate options for regulatory reform drawn from other jurisdictions. Watch this space!
The FLIP Stream along with the Allens Hub for Technology, Law and Innovation were officially launched at Allens in March.
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