An unbundled relationship with a solicitor involves the solicitor acting as a sub- contractor. The solicitor is allocated specific tasks by the client. Usually, the client is keen to ensure that legal costs are kept to a minimum or that a fixed fee is agreed. An unbundled service is certainly of interest to the cost conscious client.

The specific tasks could involve writing letters, drafting documents, helping clients to negotiate or preparing them for court hearings. It could involve legal research, a second opinion, representation at court or helping the client to represent him/herself.

The solicitor and the client need to work closely at the outset in order to decide who is responsible for which task. The client should expect to receive a carefully worded terms of business letter and solicitors should expect to draft one. It is extremely important to manage expectations from the outset and clients must be very conscious of the importance of court deadlines, limitation periods, both the work for which they are responsible and for work which has been allocated to the solicitor.

The relationship between solicitor and client is very different from a full retainer relationship. Both parties need to proceed with caution and a clear understanding from the outset is key to providing and receiving an unbundled legal service.