Stephanie Kimbro, a virtual solo practitioner based in North Carolina and a member of the ABA’s eLawyering Task Force, has authored a new book on Limited Scope Legal Services- Unbundling and the Self-Help Client, published by the Law Practice Management Section of the American Bar Association.
The book is "must reading" for solo practitioners and lawyers in small firms who want to expand the reach of their legal services to serve an expanding latent market for legal services plus provide innovative and responsive legal services to existing clients.
The original book on this subject, also published by ABA/LPM, was written by Forest "Woody" Mosten, who is considered the "Father of Unbundling" in 2000. That was 12 years ago, before the ascendency of the Internet. A lot has happened in 12 years. Kimbro’s book up-dates the original concept and explains clearly how these ideas can be used ito create new on-line business models for law firms.
When you combine the power of the Internet as a delivery platform, with the idea of limited scope representation, new "unbundled legal services" can be created that can be sold to clients in volume over a wide geographical area. The Internet takes the idea of "unbundling" to an entire new level. An example is the packaging of highly specialized legal forms with legal advice for a fixed legal fee that are sold through out a state. Long Tail marketing concepts apply when selling specialized legal services to a niche market and are compatible with the idea of limited scope legal representation.
Like Kimbro’s earlier work on Virtual Law Practice, this new book is a manual filled with relevant case studies, explanations, and other resources that help a lawyer figure out out how limited scope representation could be applied to an individual practice. It should be on the book shelf of every lawyer who is thinking about ways to compete with non-lawyer companies like LegalZoom – which in effect has taken the idea of "unbundling" to an extreme by simply "unbundling" the lawyer completely out of the legal document creation process. [ LegalZoom is not a law firm, in case you haven’t heard.]
The book comes with useful check lists, discussions of best practices, a discussion of the pros and cons of "unbundling" , a discussion of ethical rules that apply, a chapter devoted to marketing unbundled legal services, sample limited retainer agreements, and a sampling of state by state ethics rules that apply to limited scope representation with citations back to the relevant state statutes. This is only the tip of the iceberg. With this single book, a practitioner has enough information to develop a viable business plan for offering limited scope legal services.
If Woody Mosten is been considered the"Father of Unbundling" than Stephanie Kimbro has earned the title of "Mother of Unbundling."