What Kind of Legal Services Can You Buy A La Carte?

Filed Under (Bradford Publishing News & Updates) on 02-07-2012

Limited Representation, Unbundled Legal Services Forgo the Fixed Price Legal Menu and Shop A La Carte in Colorado

By Rachel Brand and Terri Harrington

In this tough economy, Coloradans in need of legal help are turning to limited scope representation. Instead of plunking down a hefty retainer fee for full service legal representation, you can pick and choose the services most vital to you, or the services you can’t do on your own, and pay a lawyer to handle them. The rest – you handle yourself.  What might these services be?

Typical A La Carte Legal Services

Unbundled legal services (a.k.a. a la carte legal services and limited scope representation) generally fall into three categories:

•    Advice/consultation;
•    Document review and preparation; and
•    Limited representation.


When it comes to getting advice, you can get direction to resources such as local and state rules; advice on strategy or simple legal guidance. Attorneys can also counsel you on how the law works in general, such as how divorce law works or on court procedures and courtroom behavior.

Expect to pay for this advice. Full service attorneys may offer a free consultation prior to charging a retainer.  But when the only service you’re seeking is a consultation, you can expect a limited services attorney to charge an hourly rate.

Document Review and/or Preparation

Whether you don’t have the knowledge or the time to draft important legal documents, you can hire a lawyer to handle this often tedious process of, for example, preparing financial affidavits or drafting briefs.

Lawyers can also help you prepare wills, spousal or child support agreements and/or worksheets, or any type of contract or agreement. A lawyer can either prepare these documents with you or review them for you, offering comments and suggestions.

Limited Representation and Other Types of Services

You may need someone to stand by your side in court; offer counsel as you represent yourself, or actually provide limited court appearances on your behalf. And, yes, you can hire a lawyer for just that purpose (usually along with some advice and guidance). 

You can also hire a lawyer to:

•    Negotiate on your behalf;
•    Help you prepare evidence and interview/track down witnesses;
•    Organize discovery materials; and
•    Conduct legal research.