The offering of unbundled pro bono legal services is becoming increasingly prevalent, especially in certain areas of law. Unbundling refers to the taking on of discrete events of legal work, as distinct from the performance of an entire retainer from beginning to end. Unbundled pro bono can often take the form of:
- Self-representation service (SRS) models where the lawyer provides legal advice to equip the client to represent themselves in court;
- Partnerships with CLCs where carriage of the matter can be divided between the CLC and a pro bono lawyer;
- Matters done partly by a lawyer and partly by a pro bono lawyer; or,
- Matters where there is a high likelihood of early resolution – such as unfair dismissal matters which are often resolved at conciliation.
The Guidelines, available on the Law Society of WA’s website, advise that unbundling is most appropriate “where clients may have modest means or limited resources.” The document focuses on managing the risk associated with a limited retainer by accurately and precisely limiting the scope of the retainer.