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Unbundling legal services is nothing new

Nick Jarrett-Kerr assesses the recent Law Society practice note on unbundling legal services. What might it mean for business clients, and how will law firms react?

14 June 2013

The publication, by the Law Society, of a recent practice note on unbundling legal services raises interesting questions for firms and clients who might wish to avail themselves of 
the opportunity.

Very late in the day, the Society's reactive guidance on the unbundling of legal services is playing catch-up to a practice which has in reality been going on for many years. Law firms have been unbundling commercial services for sophisticated commercial clients for many decades, particularly those with in-house legal departments that have long been accustomed to instruct external law firms on an a la carte basis.

One example lies in the property sphere. As pricing pressures have increased, conveyancers have for many years been insidiously reducing the level of service to their clients, providing checklists for client self-help in various tangential areas of house-moving for which previous generations of lawyers provided a full-on hand-holding ser...

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