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Profile


"Unbundled" Legal Services Attorney Panel
Maricopa County, Arizona


Who operates the unbundled project?
What does the Self-Service Center do?
What is the relationship between the Court and the Bar regarding the unbundled project?

Who recruits for the panel?

What is the oversight procedure for the panel?

What types of services do the panel attorneys provide?

Were any changes made to the Rules of Professional Responsibility, Ethics, or Civil Procedure to accommodate the project?

Who refers clients to the panel?



Who operates the unbundled project?
The project is managed by the Superior Court of Arizona, Maricopa County. The project maintains a panel of lawyers who are willing to provide unbundled services to pro se clients. This roster includes 80-90 lawyers and lists their locations, hours, fees, how long they've been practicing, what areas of law they practice, and where they went to law school. This information is reported by the lawyers and is updated by the court. This list is not intended as a referral or an endorsement, but as a resource for pro se clients to help find assistance. There is no limit set as to what kind of fees the lawyers may charge. 

The County also maintains a Self Service Center (SSC - www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/ssc/sschome.html) for pro se clients. Court filing fees can be waived or deferred for needy clients.

The project was created in 1994 in response to the explosion of the number of persons representing themselves in the early 1990's, mainly in family law and probate issues.

The court also maintains a Family Lawyers Assistance Project (FLAP), a joint project between the Maricopa Bar Association and the local Legal Aid Community Legal Services. This project provides a half- hour consultation and advice session, either for a $25 fee or for free, depending on the individual's situation. This fee goes into the County Bar Association lawyer referral service fund.

What does the Self-Service Center do?
The Center has numerous court forms, including information on family, probate mental health, juvenile, and tax law. Complete packets for particular issues are also available which include all relevant forms and instructions for filing, etc. The Center does not assist in filling out the forms. Clients must come in to pick up forms or download them from the SSC site (phone requests are not accepted). All forms must be filed in person in court.

What is the relationship between the Court and the Bar regarding the unbundled project?
The Bar holds the project in high regard and was involved in the design and development of the project from its inception. The Bar and the Court have partnered on the project since it began in 1994.

Have any ethical issues been raised regarding the project?
Very few. Some individual lawyers may not understand what the service does and believe that the project is taking cases away from them. However, usually once lawyers learn more about the program and its function, they support the program.  There have been no instances of lawyers  who are informed about the system complaining to a court or to the Bar.

Who recruits for the panel?
The court recruits by talking to lawyers (usually members of the panel) for referrals to the project. The court also recruits from sections of the Bar Association and the Bar attorney magazines.

What is the oversight procedure for the panel?
There is an attorney grievance procedure set up for the project, which has never been used. There have been no complaints registered about the project to date. 

The lawyers must update their information with the court and must be state bar members in good standing willing to provide unbundled assistance. All attorneys must attend an orientation run by the State Bar Association Ethics Council, judges, and attorneys on the panel.

What types of services do the panel attorneys provide?
For the most part, attorneys on the panel set up consultations with the unbundled clients. These are not like many "consultations" offered by attorneys, which are, in effect, marketing tools. The purpose of these sessions is to advise and counsel the clients on their issues, assist in preparing documents, or review prepared documents for the client. These sessions are generally about one hour in length. It is entirely up to the client and the attorney to decide whether or not it would be appropriate to expand representation beyond these sessions (i.e., full representation in court). There is nothing to prohibit the client from hiring the attorney beyond the unbundled assistance. Agreements regarding the representation (e.g., limited services agreements) are left up to the attorney to draft. The Court does not interject itself into the arrangement between the client and the attorney. The list of panel members is used for referrals to attorneys who are willing to provide (usually) limited outside assistance to clients who plan to represent themselves in court.

Were any changes made to the Rules of Professional Responsibility, Ethics, or Civil Procedure to accommodate the project?
No. The Maricopa County rules follow the ABA Model Rules. Since the project does not involve limited appearances in court, no changes were needed. Lawyers on the panel generally assist clients outside of the courtroom; since this is a pro se project, the lawyers do not represent the clients.

Who refers clients to the panel?
The court markets the panel aggressively. The court phone lines refer clients to and contain detailed information about the project, as does the court's website. Walk-ins in the court are also referred to the project. Flyers are located in the courthouses listing clients' options, the attorney list, and in formation about the FLAP program. The flyers discuss how the service can be used; most walk-in clients coming into the courtroom are not initially aware that the project exists.


Contact: Bob James of the Superior Court of Arizona, Maricopa County (602-506-6314, bobjames@superiorcourt.maricopa.gov).

Source: Maryland Legal Assistance Network

Update 6/5/02 (MLAN/SH)