What are unbundled legal services?
The phrase “unbundled legal services” has been attributed to UCLA law professor Forrest S. Mosten and his book “Unbundling Legal Services: A Guide to Delivering Legal Services a la Carte”. An attorney unbundles services when he or she engages in limited scope representation. The work associated with the legal representation is broken down into tasks which are divided between the client and the attorney. The client assumes responsibility for the steps he or she undertakes to complete, and the attorney is only liable for those tasks which he or she has taken on. Unbundling is also called à la carte legal services, discrete task representation, or disaggregated legal services. In New York State, the rules mandate that: (i) “A lawyer may limit the scope of the representation if the limitation is reasonable under the circumstances, the client gives informed consent and where necessary notice is provided to the tribunal and/or opposing counsel”; and (ii) “The lawyer providing short-term limited legal services must secure the client’s informed consent to the limited scope of the representation […].”
What is the difference between Pro Bono and Lobono (also Lowbono)?
Lowbono is a term derived from pro bono, a latin phrase denoting work done by a professional with little or no payment for the public good. Lowbono in contrast is the provision of services to communities that do not have adequate access to representation at reduced rates commensurate with their incomes. Lowbono services are designed to enable low– and middle-income communities to take advantage of legal representation in an economically sustainable manner.
What is a fiduciary and why should I care about this legal term?
Fiduciary duties can arise when someone has a position of power or privilege with regards to another, such that he or she has (i) a one-sided duty of care and (ii) a higher standard of loyalty than the law otherwise normally requires. This means that if you are a fiduciary, a court may impose upon you forms of accountability and responsibility singularly to the benefit of another, potentially independent of any contract in place. Dealers, gallerists, and auction houses regularly engender fiduciary duties by law in the course of their normal business dealings as agents of artists and collectors.
What is mediation?
Alternative Dispute Resolution is a spectrum of procedures that are less expensive and more time-efficient than litigation (an outcome produced by trial before a court). ADR is typically taken up by court order, a provision of a contract, or when the parties agree to it. The two most common forms of ADR are arbitration (which binds the parties) and mediation (consensual settlement). Mediation is confidential negotiation facilitated by a neutral mediator towards a mutually consensual outcome. Parties to mediation are invited to discuss all material aspects of a conflict in a refereed situation, where the opposing side undertakes to listen. The parties are invited to speak openly in the presence of the other. Lawyers may or may not be present, but their role is typically restricted to explaining the legal implications of contemplated solutions. By working through as many salient issues as possible, the mediation can approach a problem in a multidimensional way that a court case cannot. Solutions can involve material as well as immaterial or symbolic outcomes. Creative problem-solving tending towards a win-win outcome is favored. Break-out sessions with individual parties, called caucuses, allow for further exploration of underlying confidential issues. There are three general levels of intervention on the part of the mediator: transformative (passive encouragement of mutual understanding, facilitative (re-framing of the positions according to their strengths and weaknesses), and evaluative (mediator offers an expert opinion about the issues in dispute). Mediation may require several sessions, each of which can typically last for three hours. Mediation formats and scheduling are very flexible and can be adapted to the parties and issues at hand.