Advisory Opinion: 1763

Year Issued: 1997

RPC(s): RPC 1.2; 1.5; 1.8(a)

Subject: Unbundled legal services; limited representation; subsequent representation of former client


"Unbundled legal services" [in the family law context] refers to the concept of a party engaging an attorney to take limited measures, such as helping to prepare initial pleadings and perform child-support calculations, without either the lawyer or the client being obligated to the other for the duration of the dissolution or modification proceedings. This measure would enable the attorney to charge a reasonable flat fee for defined services, and the client to control and budget for expenses. The Committee advises that assuming that both the original and subsequent representation agreements comply with RPC 1.2 and 1.5, RPC 1.8(a) does not apply to a separate, subsequent, limited engagement of the same attorney by the same former client.

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Advisory Opinions are provided for the education of the Bar and reflect the opinion of the Committee on Professional Ethics (CPE) or its predecessors. Advisory Opinions are provided pursuant to the authorization granted by the Board of Governors, but are not individually approved by the Board and do not reflect the official position of the Bar association. Laws other than the Washington State Rules of Professional Conduct may apply to the inquiry. The Committee's answer does not include or opine about any other applicable law other than the meaning of the Rules of Professional Conduct.