Forrest (Woody) Mosten

Mediator and Collaborative Attorney

Certified Family Law Specialist

Unbundling Legal Services

Unbundling Legal Services:
A Guide to Delivering Legal Services a la Carte
by Forrest S. Mosten

2000, American Bar Association

Known as the “Father of Unbundling” for his worldwide pioneering of this method of legal service delivery, Mosten has written the seminal book.

Unbundling (Discrete Task Service) has been hailed by mediators, clients, judges and lawyers as a leading way for people to get legal services at affordable prices and for lawyers to recapture clients that are self-representing due to high lawyer fees and a lack of empowerment. This readable book describes the concept, shows how it works, gives successful models, provides loads of forms, and deals with barriers to this innovative form of professional service.

This landmark book explains the process of unbundling and details how any firm can quickly implement the concept to add a new dimension of service to their practice. Unbundling Legal Services, A Guide to Delivering Legal Services a la Carte shows how to build a new, profitable client base by increasing legal access through unbundling, the process of supplying the client separate lawyering tasks according to their direction.

Lawyers benefit when they offer discrete task service products as a supplement to their traditional full-service practices. They recapture market share and gain professional satisfaction by offering this extra facet of their services. For the client, unbundling is attractive because it saves them money and gives them more control over the process and strategy decisions.

This book is the only one of its kind on the unbundling process to date.

By reading and applying the principles of unbundling you can…

  • Charge fees at rates equal to, or higher than your current rate
  • Benefit from word-of-mouth recommendations
  • Discover that satisfied clients, who are in control, pay their bills on time
  • Increase your personal satisfaction
  • Tap into this growing consumer demand
  • Reduce client resentment by empowering them as an equal partner
  • Increase your market share and client base

“Woody Mosten has successfully practiced what he has so persuasively preached about unbundling legal services and now he has written a comprehensive guide to delivering legal services a la carte. This book will be of interest to anyone curious about unbundling and a must read for lawyers who want to offer discrete-task services.

The guide explains to lawyers the what, why and how of unbundling. It anticipates questions, gives answers, explains barriers and walks the reader through all aspects of providing unbundled legal services. From the theory behind unbundling to the details of practice, it is all here. The easy to read step-by-step format covers setting up the office, what to do when the client walks in, marketing, application to substantive fields of law, unbundling on the internet, ethics and how to deliver unbundled services without being sued.

Mosten has been a long time and powerful voice for better ways of making legal services available so people can get the help they need from lawyers. He is the decibel of Louis Brown, his hero and the “father of preventive law.” Professor Brown would be very proud of his student and the contribution Woody has made with this book, as well as the entirety of his career, to more accessible legal services and client-centered practices.”

Jay Folberg
Past President of Association for Conflict Resolution and
Association of Family and Conciliation Courts,
Dean Emeritus of University of San Francisco Law School
and author of numerous books on mediation.

“Forrest Mosten has written the definitive A-Z primer on today's hot topic confronting our profession, the unbundling of legal services. It's a must read.”

Robert E. Hirshon
President-Elect American Bar Association

This compendium provides an excellent overview as well as considerable insight into the issues will be confronted by lawyers who work with their clients and others in either preventing or solving disputes and problems, most of which consist of multifaceted components as do the variety of potential solutions.

Kimberlee K. Kovach
Past Chair, ABA Section of Dispute Resolution, 1997-98.

This is the first book I have seen which combines the philosophy of Unbundled Legal Services with the practical how-to's. It is an important addition to the literature on this expanding and vital area of practice. I commend this book to anyone interested in assuring that more people have fair access to the courts with legal help.

Rebecca Albrecht
Past-president of the Maricopa County Bar Association
Board member of the NCBP
Chair of the lawyers division of the Judicial Administration division
ABA House of Delegates
100 Outstanding Women and Minority Lawyers in Arizona.

Unbundling Legal Services:
A Guide to Delivering Legal Services a la Carte
For Improved Service and Profits
by Forrest S. Mosten




Chapter 1: Unbundling: What is it? Why it Works for Clients and Lawyers

  • What is Unbundling?
  • The Client is in Charge
  • Discrete Lawyering Tasks
  • Is Unbundling Right For You?
  • Benefits to Clients
  • Keeping Lawyers Out of the Way
  • Benefits to Lawyers
  • Practice Tips

Chapter 2: Unbundling: How it Works

  • Stage 1: Office Preparation
  • Stage 2: Clarifying Your Approach
  • Stage 3: Initial Client Intake Conference
  • Stage 4: Unbundling Assessment
  • Stage 5: Contracting for Unbundling
    • Limited Scope Agreement
  • Stage 6: Monitoring Limited Services
  • Stage 7: Converting From Unbundled to Full Service Representation
  • Sample Termination Letter
  • Stage 8: Evaluation of Client Satisfaction
    • Practice Tips

Chapter 3: The Initial Client Conference: What to Do When the Client Walks In

  • Agenda for Unbundling Discussion
  • Initial Conference Topic Checklist
  • What is Unbundling?
  • What Unbundled Services Do I Offer?
  • What Are the Benefits and Risks of Utilizing Unbundled Services?
    • Pros & Cons of Unbundling
    • How Will Unbundled Services Compare With Full Service Representation in Your Case?
    • Are You the Type of Person Who Will Be Satisfied With an Unbundled Arrangement?
    • Is This the Type of Problem That Can Be Successfully Unbundled?
    • Assuming You Choose to Unbundle, What Will You Do and What Will I Do?
    • Issues to be Apportioned
    • Tasks to be Apportioned
    • Limited Scope Client-Attorney Agreement
    • Fees
    • Wrapping Up
    • Practice Tips

Chapter 4: How to Set Up and Manage an Unbundling Law Office

  • Reception Area
  • Client Library
  • Client Library Picture
  • Information to Educate Clients
  • DRA Client Intake Form
  • Legal Wellness Check-up
  • Point of Sale Information
  • Office Design
  • Food and Drink
  • Staff Training
  • Practice Tips

Chapter 5: Marketing Unbundling Services: How To Get Clients

  • Develop Your Signature in the Marketplace
  • Unbundling Self Survey
  • Write a Mission Statement
  • Establish a Board of Directors for Your Practice
  • Unbundling Practitioner's Study Group
  • Advertise Concept and Benefits Over Brand
  • Benchmark: Don’t Hide the Ball
  • Build From Your Strength: Your Existing Client Base
  • Network Switching
  • Public Speaking and Media
  • Using Lunch to Focus on the Needs of the Referral Source
  • Organizational Seminars & Training
  • Doing Your Marketing From Home
  • Write Articles, Forms and Practice Guides
  • Your Marketing Lessons
  • Yellow Page Display Advertising
  • Newspaper and Other Print Display Advertising
  • Television and Radio
  • Direct Mail
  • Website
  • Lawyer Referral and Information Services
  • Financial Commitment
  • Practice Tips

Chapter 6: Ethical and Malpractice Barriers to Unbundling: How to Deliver Discrete Task Services Without Being Sued or Disciplined

  • Fear of Malpractice and Disciplinary Trouble
  • Hurried or Incomplete Advice May Give Rise to MalpracticeLiability
  • Limitations on Liability Are an Illusion
  • Malpractice Insurance Carriers May Not Offer Coverage
  • Due to Risks & Ethical Uncertainty
  • Model Rule 4.2
  • Sample Caption for Ghostwritten Pleading
  • Ghostwriting Pleadings and Other Court Documents
  • Limited Court Appearance & Permission of the Court
  • Lawyer Coaches May Not Impede the Administration of the
  • Court System
  • Lack of Consumer Awareness
  • Consumers Need Educational Resources
  • Pro Ses: Intruders in the Court Arena
  • Lawyers Haven’t Been Trained in Unbundling
  • Unbundling Is Not a Politically Hot Issue
  • Practice Tips
  • Summary of Significant Opinions
  • Unbundling in Law Practice Today

Chapter 7: Unbundling in Law Practice Today

  • Corporate Business Practice
  • Small Business and Real Estate Transactions
  • Probate
  • Wills and Estate Planning
  • Personal Injury Claims
  • Bankruptcy and Debt Relief
  • Family Law
    • Coaching Clients with no Staff and a World Wide Website
    • Consulting Lawyer in Mediation
    • Collaborative Lawyering
    • Legal Advice Hot Lines
    • Helpline: Telephone Mediation and Drafting Forms
    • Case Assessment Conferences
    • Coaching Within a Full Service Law Practice
  • Common Unbundling Practice Strategies
  • Simplified Court Forms and Procedures
  • Role of a Legal Coach
  • Role of Unbundled Manager of Dispute Resolution
  • Role of Negotiation Coach
  • Legal Wellness Checkup
  • Practice Tips

Chapter 8: Unbundling on the Internet by William Hornsby, Jr.

  • Client Information Resources
  • Client Screening and Intake
  • Legal Advice
  • Drafting/Form Preparation
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix of Internet Sites

Chapter 9: Starting Your Unbundling Practice: Your First Steps

  • Prepare to Unbundle
  • Develop Unbundling Practice Tools
  • Market Your Unbundling Practice
  • Look to the Future: Law Practice in 2020


About the Author

© Forrest S. Mosten

Certified Family Law Specialist
Board of Legal Specialization, State Bar of California