Pro Se Legal Services /Unbundled Services

Traditionally, when facing a legal challenge, people faced a difficult choice to somehow find a way to obtain representation, or to go it alone. At the same time, the various volunteer programs are completely overwhelmed. There is simply no way that volunteer programs can meet the amount of need for services in this area of the law.

The cost of full legal representation today can be a significant outlay that many people cannot afford. Yet, they have to deal with an ongoing problem, be it their business or perhaps a lawsuit, divorce, child support modification or a host of others.  Pro Se Legal Services (also known as Unbundled Legal Services) is an alternative that Morse Bratt Andrews & Terry LLP (MBA&F) is proud to offer our clients as an alternative to the traditional range of legal services.

It is not for everyone. The legal process, especially if it involves Court, can be confusing and full of pitfalls. While the Bar Association has tried to make the process more accessible by providing forms and guidance, nonetheless it can be daunting. However, full representation can be expensive and beyond some people's resources. Unbundled Services is an alternative that MBA&F is proud to be able to offer their clientele where it makes sense.

The basic idea is taking the bundle of services that constitutes traditional representation and breaking open the bundle so that clients can pick and choose which services and how much of those services they wish to purchase — basically an a la carte approach to legal services. This allows clients to determine how much legal assistance they can afford.

Pro Se Legal Services offers two things. First, it offers a more affordable choice for people who cannot afford full representation but also do not qualify for pro bono representation through the few programs that are available. Second, it offers a way to make services more widely available to serve this very underserved population.

Pro Se Legal Services can take many forms, depending on what services a client desires. It may involve drafting documents for the client, advising them on how to present their case in court, and may even involve limited representation agreements (such as agreeing to appear for a single hearing or settlement conference). It could involve assisting with discovery or coaching the client through the whole case from start to finish but without appearing as their representative.

PRO SE LEGAL ASSISTANCE: "Pro Se" refers to a party who represents him or herself in a legal matter rather than being represented by an attorney. You represent yourself, but MBA&F provides certain legal services to assist you.

YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES: You will be responsible for all aspects of the litigation of the matter. You must see that papers are filed in a timely fashion. You must see that the case schedule is followed (i.e. you must track and meet the deadlines -- we have no responsibility to track or remind you of deadlines). Unless you specifically hire us to make a limited appearance in the case (where we represent you for a specific aspect of the case, such as a single hearing), you will represent yourself at any hearings, and you will be responsible for the content of any arguments actually made by you in court.

ATTORNEY'S ROLE: We will only provide whatever assistance you specifically request and we agree to do, on a visit by visit basis. We assume no responsibility for the case on an ongoing basis. The assistance we provide will be limited to the services you specifically request and we agree to provide, such as helping you draft paperwork, giving you general advice as to how to proceed, or appearing on a limited basis for a specific hearing or negotiation.

FEE BASIS: Fees are charged on an "as incurred" basis, based on the attorney's regular per hour rate, unless agreed in writing otherwise at the time of service. Payment will be due at the end of the appointment, and at the end of any further appointments you may schedule.

FULL REPRESENTATION: However, if would like us to assist you on an ongoing basis, arrangements for full representation can be set up, and we would undertake the traditional role of attorney - client.