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Bar News - April 8, 2005


Beyond 'Unbundling'- Alternatives in Legal Services

The ABA's Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services in 2002 published "Innovations in the Delivery of Legal Services: Alternatives and Emerging Models for the Practicing Lawyer." The following provides a sampling of models presented in the 14-page booklet, available at http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/downloads/delivery/innovations.pdf, supplemented by NH specific information, when available.

Collaborative law - "a method of dispute resolution where the parties and their lawyers agree to resolve the issues without litigation. Lawyers represent the parties for settlement purposes only. It differs from mediation because there is no third-party neutral." The Collaborative Law Alliance of New Hampshire has more information at http://www.collaborativelawnh.org/.

Distance lawyering - "Distance lawyering tends to center around transactional matters, but it may include online dispute resolution." Examples of specific uses of distance lawyering are offered, including visa applications, will preparation, incorporations, and dispute resolution. Examples online are at www.cybersettle.com and at the ABA's Consumer's Guide to Legal Help on the Internet at www.findlegalhelp.org.

Holistic lawyering - "Holistic lawyering is analogous to holistic medicine...a holistic lawyer addresses the whole person and not just a client's particular legal issue." For information see the Web site of the International Alliance of Holistic Lawyers at www.iahl.org.

Micro-niche practices - In addition to "specialties" that require certification by accredited organizations, "the idea of narrowly focusing a practice in a limited area and developing an uncommon expertise has grown." Examples include practices that are sub-sets of larger fields of law, such as "mobile home law" or defined by client demographics, such as a law firm that concentrates on military personnel. Check out www.bicyclelaw.com.

Networked practices - Beyond the networks of large law firms offering corporate or institutional services such as Lex Muni and Terralex, few networks for small- or solo-firm lawyers have developed. However, Baltimore-based Civil Justice, Inc. at www.civiljusticenetwork.org is trying to provide support services for lawyers serving underserved client populations.

Outreach models - "Outreach efforts [bring] legal services to the places where middle class clients [are], rather than requiring the potential clients to come to [a] firm's office." An example of an entrepreneurial outreach model is the coffeehouse staffed by lawyers ready to provide customers with legal information at www.legalgrind.com in Santa Monica, CA.

Preventive law - Concepts of preventive law - providing risk management, legal audits and legal check-ups for individuals - are advanced by the National Center for Preventive Law at California Western School of Law at www.preventivelawyer.org.

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