Limited Assistance Representation (LAR or “Unbundled Services”)
For those who are concerned about the cost of hiring an attorney for divorce, custody, support or other family law matter, Kirsten can provide a cost-effective opportunity of limited assistance representation, also called unbundled services. Kirsten is certified to provide Limited Assistance Representation through the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court. Limited Assistance Representation is not for everyone. Kirsten can assist you in determining if LAR is right for your particular matter.
What is limited assistance representation?
In Limited Assistance Representation (sometimes called “unbundling”), a self-represented individual retains an attorney to represent or assist her or him with a specific, limited, portions of her or his legal matter. The attorney and litigant enter a detailed agreement defining what tasks the attorney will be responsible for and which tasks the litigant will be responsible for. Such tasks may include:
- Preparing or reviewing paperwork you’ve prepared yourself, including pleadings motions and agreements.
- Coaching you on the law, procedures and strategy.
- Make limited court appearances for events, such as a motion hearing, a status conference, or a pre-trial conference.
- Being available on standby while you attend a settlement conference.
At all times the individual is considered self-represented (pro se) and the attorney’s appearance in the case will be limited to that which the client has retained the attorney to do.
Why it is important to discuss your case thoroughly with your attorney
It is important to thoroughly discuss all aspects of your case (even those which you think are simple) with your attorney before deciding which parts you want to do yourself and which ones the attorney will assist you with. It is equally important to realize that there may be important issues presented by your case that you aren’t even aware of. You could be at serious legal risk about an issue you don’t even realize exists. If you don’t discuss them with your attorney, how will you know?
Never make assumptions about the law which applies to your case. The law shows you’ve seen on TV are rarely accurate, and just because you’ve “seen it on TV,” doesn’t mean it is correct, or even “legal.” The only way you know this is to talk it over with a qualified attorney.
Sometimes new issues will pop up after your case is started. If they do, it is important to advise your attorney and discuss them, so that you know the potential legal consequences to you. Remember that your attorney can only advise you on matters you tell him/her about, so it is essential that you provide complete information about your case.
Remember, you and your attorney are working as a team. That means good communication and a clear understanding of each person’s assignments is essential.