Written by Tom Gordon
In a previous blog post, I discussed how the divorce rate had dropped during the recession in part because people simply couldn't afford the cost of a divorce. Consider one way in which those costs could be brought under control for the average consumer. A recent article in LawyersUSA notes a trend toward "unbundled legal services" -- legal services provided on an "as needed" basis. In the article, Attorney Susan O'Brian stated that a full service divorce usually requires a $4,000 retainer, and depending on the complexity of the case and whether there are custody issues, a divorce can cost between $10,000 and $50,000.
"Unbundled" legal services (sometimes called "limited scope" or "discrete task" representation) are certainly a welcome trend in the legal profession and often do substantially lower the costs associated with a divorce, however, O'Brien did note that she still charges $275 an hour for unbundled services. Even purchased "a la carte," legal services carry a hefty price tag and often one that extends beyond what most people can afford -- reason enough to regard unbundling of legal services as only one potential solution to a much bigger legal crisis. Regardless, if you are seeking legal help, consider asking about unbundled services. Not only will you be encouraging a worthwhile trend in how legal services are provided to consumers, but you may also find you're able to afford services you assumed were beyond your reach.