Unbundled Services: What is Coaching?
One of the first blog posts I wrote addressed the topic of unbundled services. The Hulse Law Firm provides “unbundled services,” which means I will offer a number of services a la carte’ for you, depending on your needs, except for entering my appearance in your case and/or appearing in court for you. We charge flat fees for unbundled services, depending on the complexity and anticipated time to complete the task needed for you.
One unbundled service we provide is coaching before hearings. If you cannot afford to have an attorney represent you at your permanent orders hearing in a divorce, or a contempt hearing, or other modification hearing, it may still be beneficial to meet with an attorney and receive coaching before the hearing for a much lower, flat fee. Appearing in court is intimidating to most people. Not only can it be scary to be in court and in front of a judge, it can also be unnerving to try and tell the judge your story without understanding the law.
Typically, if you request to meet with me for coaching services, I will ask you to bring any documents you believe necessary for your exhibits. I can make suggestions before our coaching meeting as to what type of exhibits may be helpful for your hearing.
At our meeting, I will walk step by step with you to prepare what you need to tell the judge about each issue in the case, address what issues the court will want to hear about and what issues they cannot listen to (for example the fact that your spouse cheated because we are in a “no fault” state). We also create an exhibit notebook for you to bring to the hearing. Additionally, we will discuss potential cross-examination questions for you to ask during the hearing.
There are obviously many limitations to only receiving coaching services before a hearing rather than having an attorney enter his or her appearance and represent you in court. Not only do you benefit by having an attorney by your side through the trial itself, but you also benefit by having the attorney review your entire case file and him or her having full knowledge of all factors that could impact your case. There are many steps that go into preparing for a case, including, but not limited to: witness disclosure, requests to exclude another party’s witness, gathering discovery to prepare for the hearing, preparing a trial management certificate, etc. By only receiving unbundled services, there are points that may be missed because the attorney does not have access to the entire case file and all potential issues.
Despite the benefit to having an attorney represent you completely in a matter, many people either cannot afford an attorney or do not want to pay for the cost of full representation. Approximately, 70% to 80% have no representation in court for divorce and custody cases. A good alternative, even with the limitations mentioned above, would be to hire a firm for coaching or other unbundled services. Not only will it help you be more prepared in court and ready for the trial, it will also likely give you confidence in representing yourself.
If you would like to learn more or set up a free consultation, please contact us at 720-773-2900.