What Is Legal Coaching and Do I Need It?

Almost every family could benefit from a lawyer’s input, counsel and representation during a divorce case in California. Not everyone, however, can afford the attorney’s fees for such services. If you believe you could benefit from legal counseling but cannot afford a lawyer, another option may be available to you: legal coaching. Legal coaching is a little-known type of legal service within the family law practice area that is more affordable than full-service representation.

Legal Coaching vs. Legal Counseling

Legal coaching is a relatively new service some family law attorneys have started to offer in the past few years. Legal coaching is not the same as having a lawyer represent you during a divorce case. It is legal assistance on a lesser scale. The attorney will not provide full-scope legal representation, in which he or she will do all the legwork of your case for you. Instead, an attorney will counsel you through the steps it will take for you to handle your divorce case yourself, with varying degrees of input from the attorney.

During legal coaching, the lawyer on your case may or may not take care of tasks such as filling out paperwork or representing you during a trial. You may take care of these things yourself after receiving advice from a lawyer. The attorney will provide unbundled legal services or limited scope representation during your case. Your lawyer will agree to provide specific tasks for you, but you will do the rest. Legal coaching can cost less than full-service legal representation, making it an affordable option for people going through divorce cases in California.

In a legal coaching relationship, the attorney will only be responsible for the specific type of work you have both agreed will be the lawyer’s job to complete. The lawyer will not take care of your divorce case in its entirety, but rather only complete certain parts on your behalf. You cannot file a claim against the lawyer for professional negligence for failing to take care of other tasks that were not his or her responsibility. You will need to understand what tasks will be your responsibility to complete if you decide to enter into a legal coaching relationship.

How to Find an Attorney That Provides Legal Coaching

Not all attorneys offer legal coaching. You may need to contact referral services from the State Bar of California to find lawyers that provide limited scope representation. Your local family court may also have a self-help center that can provide contact information for lawyers that provide legal coaching in your area. Try to find a lawyer who is willing to work with you, communicate openly and use his or her years of experience in divorce law to help you with your case. Ask about legal fees before retaining the attorney.

Schedule free consultations with a few different options for legal coaches near you. During your free meeting, ask questions such as, “How much will legal coaching cost?” “How comprehensive are your services?” “What happens if my case goes to court?” You should feel comfortable and confident with the attorney you select for legal coaching or limited-scope legal representation.

If you think legal coaching is the right choice for you, look around for a suitable attorney. Create a list of questions you would like to ask the lawyer, such as about property division or child custody. Legal coaching can look different to different people. Some clients may need more coaching than others, especially during complex divorce cases. Your legal coaching scenario may or may not involve services such as document preparation and trial representation. A discussion with an attorney can help you learn what to expect from your specific legal coaching services.