Richard Granat

Richard will teach a course on “unbundling legal services,” both on-line and off-line, with a focus on how to design an “unbundled Family Law practice” at Solo Practice University®

Richard operates a virtual law firm focused on family law based in Maryland from his home in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.  He is also the founder and President of DirectLaw, Inc.,  a company that provides a virtual law firm platform to solos and small law firms.

He is a recognized expert on the delivery of legal services over the Internet.  He is presently Co-Chair of the ELawyering Task Force of the Law Practice Management Section of the American Bar Association and serves on the Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services of the ABA.   Richard has written extensively on the subject of delivering legal services over the Internet and has written on the subject for the Law Practice Management Magazine of the ABA, the New York State Bar Association Journal, and other bar association journals. He maintains a blog on this subject of eLawyering and a separate web site on the Digital Lawyer.

Richard has taught at the University of Maryland School of Law, the District of Columbia School of Law, and Rutgers School of Law, courses in Computers and the Law and Law Practice Management. Richard is a graduate of Columbia University School of Law (J.D.), the University of Pennsylvania (M.S. in Organizational Development) and Lehigh University (B.A.) Richard is also a Fellow in the College of Law Practice Management.

Syllabus – Unbundling Legal Services

Course Objective

This course is about “Unbundled or Limited Legal Services,” a fast growing development among law firms of all sizes, but particularly among solos and small law firms. The terms “unbundled” and “limited” will be used interchangeably.

By the end of this course, each participant will have developed a design for an “unbundled legal service” that can be incorporated into their law practice. I will use as a case study throughout the course, my own Maryland-based virtual law firm that offers “unbundled legal services” to pro se parties in family law matters over the Internet. I run this virtual law firm from my home in Florida where I actually live, so this should be an interesting model to examine.

Instructional Methods

This course will have a beginning and an end, with the final product evaluation of student designs of an “unbundled legal service” and evaluation of a new “unbundled legal service” that I will develop during the course period and launch and deliver through my own virtual family law firm by the end of the course.

New materials will be posted on the course blog every three weeks following the outline of topics in the syllabus. Each unit will take place over a three week period. (See Schedule). I plan to use primarily PowerPoint presentations, with an audio or video track, supported by discussions in the Course Group. I may experiment, with a real-time live Webinar, which will provide for voice interaction among the participants and myself. You will have plenty of notice of any live Webinars, and if you miss it, they will be recorded and archived for future playback.

Session 1 – Introduction

  • What are “Unbundled Legal Services”?
  • The History of Unbundled Legal Services
  • Why all the current interest in alternative ways of delivery legal services?
  • What do consumers want from their lawyers? Not what you think!
  • The economic impact of offering Unbundled Legal Services on clients and their lawyers.

Session 2: Design Methods

  • Introduction to service delivery design concepts.
  • Breaking down legal services into discrete tasks.
  • Unbundling by Issue.
  • On-line services or off-line (in-office) services.
  • The power of on-line unbundled legal services.
  • Limits of Unbundled Legal Services.
  • Examples from a Family Law Practice

Session 3: Tools and Applications for Delivering Limited Legal Services.

  • Child Support and other Calculators
  • Web-enabled document automation
  • Legal Information
  • Web Advisors

Session 4: Ethical and Regulatory Issues

  • State rules.
  • Limited Retainer Agreements.
  • Client “Best Practices.”
  • Malpractice insurance

Session 5: Developing a “Product” or “Service” strategy for a solo or small law firm.

  • What is your “niche?”
  • How do you productize a service.
  • Earning legal fees while you are sleeping.
  • Web-enabled legal services.

Session 6: Examples of “Unbundled Legal Services”

  • Document Creation
  • Negotiation Assistance
  • Court Coaching in Family Law and Other Matters
  • Legal Research and Legal Advice
  • Potential Problems Using a Family Law Practice as an Example

Session 7: On-Line Unbundled Legal Services

  • Why on-line legal services?
  • Differences between on-line and offline “unbundled” legal services.
  • What are the consumer benefits?
  • What are the basic requirements for success?
    • Web site requirements. Site optimization.
    • Secure client space.
    • Limited Retainer Agreement.
    • Credit card payment processing.
    • Web site marketing.
  • Case Study of an on-line Family Law Practice: Putting it all together.

Session 8: Final Session. (Live Webinar – date to be announced).

  • Evaluation of student designs.
  • Evaluation of instructor’s launch of new limited legal services with a virtual Family Law Practice.