Thanks for your patience.
I will try to as best assist you with your questions below.
1. There is no set way to instruct a Solicitor. Meaning, there is no script as to how to go about doing this. What usually happens is that a client/potential client, goes in and gives the solicitor an account of what has happened. The Solicitor who should be trained or an expert in a particular area would ask certain probing questions so as to ascertain what the individuals concerns are and how best to assist them.
2. The offering of service on an unbundled basis is allowed. However, in order for a solicitor to do this, they are required to clearly set out to the client what this is and what it entails. If your solicitor failed to do this, they would have acted in error. So you are correct in thinking that the solicitor was required to tell your friend what this was. They should have put this in writing.
3. No your friend would not be wasting time. It does seem to be at the very least questionable that the solicitor did not bring to your friend's attention the fact that the limitation period was approaching and/or the consequences of an unfavourable medical report. At the very least the friend should complain so as to allow the law society to investigate and give a decision.
You may also raise in the complaint the issue as to the fees and whether it was reasonable or not.
Hope this helps. All the best. RL