You might be reading this thinking, what is unbundled representation? Unbundled representation is governed, in part, by Eighth Judicial District Court Rule 5.209. You can look up the specific rule by typing “Eighth Judicial District Court Rule 5.209” into any search engine. Unbundled representation means that the litigant has hired the attorney for a specific and limited task, rather than retaining an attorney. As a point of reference, this is a Clark County only rule and therefore this article only references this particular rule in Clark County.
There are some very specific requirements of unbundled representation that a lot of attorneys do not get right. The first filing that unbundled attorneys do is supposed to state the extent of the representation. This means if the attorney is filing a Motion and representing a client at a hearing, the Motion should make that statement. It puts the other side on notice of the unbundled representation. Besides making the statement in the first filing, unbundled attorneys must tell the Court at the beginning of every hearing.
The good thing about unbundled representation is that it is usually a flat fee charge. In most instances the unbundled representation is less expensive then a retained attorney. Unbundled representation fills a role that is necessary usually involving arguing the case before the Judge, rather than drafting the documents presented to the Court. In most cases, before a Judge will allow unbundled counsel to withdraw, the Judge requires the attorney to sign-off on the Order from the hearing.
The bad thing about unbundled representation is that often unbundled counsel does not have the time and resources to know the case well. The unbundled counsel may be even meeting the client for the first time at a hearing. Additionally, in a lot of cases the same attorneys handle unbundled cases on a regular basis which means that there may be multiple hearings at the same time which forces the other side and possibility their attorney to sit and wait, thus increasing litigation costs.
The ugly thing about unbundled representation is that despite the requirements outlined above, a lot of unbundled attorneys are not clear about the extent of the representation. In that case, it can make it difficult for the other party or attorney from getting timely answers and sometimes, responses to questions or pending issues. This can increase the cost of litigation for the other side.
Here are a few pointers if you are looking for unbundled representation:
(1.) Make sure whatever agreement you have with the attorney is spelled out clearly in writing listing each and every thing the attorney is supposed to completed;
(2.) Try to meet the attorney in advance, even if you have to pay a little bit extra to securing the meeting. Thirty minutes can make a huge difference; and
(3.) Prepare notes for the attorney to have in advance of court with key issues that you want addressed and things like the names and ages of the children, date of marriage, issues to be addressed, desired outcome, etc.
Hopefully with these types, a prospective client can calm their nerves and have their anxiety reduced by having an attorney put the advocacy hat on and argue the merits of the client’s position to their advantage and achieve a favorable outcome.
Jason Stoffel is a family law practitioner in private practice since 2004. He is a partner in Roberts Stoffel Family Law Group , a Las Vegas, Nevada family law firm.
Amanda Roberts is a family law practitioner in private practice since 2005. She is a partner in Roberts Stoffel Family Law Group, a Las Vegas, Nevada family law firm.