Limited Scope Representation and How It Can Save You Money
With the high cost of litigation many people are turning to self-representation when pursuing legal matters rather than hiring an attorney. Unfortunately, individuals who represent themselves often have limited knowledge about the law and the Court system. This not only causes delays and confusion for the self-represented individual but can also have dire legal consequences. So how does one walk the line between adequate legal representation and affordability? The answer just became a little simpler: Limited Scope Representation.
On January 1, 2018 the new limited scope representation rules became effective, allowing attorneys to offer limited representation in civil cases. Essentially, the new rules allow an attorney to step in for a client only on the matters a client isn’t comfortable or capable of handling themselves. Now, rather than having to pay an attorney to handle every detail of your case from start to finish, you can hire an attorney to only tackle particular items.
Attorneys can offer limited scope representation by ghostwriting or by entering a limited appearance. Ghostwriting is the process in which an attorney prepares pleadings and other papers for a client without signing them. By doing so, the client is able to ensure that all documents and pleadings are properly filled out while still being able to pursue their case without the attorney, saving thousands of dollars.
Attorneys can also offer limited scope representation by entering a limited appearance. Limited appearance is the process in which an attorney can appear in court on behalf of the client. For example, an individual in an otherwise simple divorce may want to hire an attorney to exclusively appear in court to argue a complicated motion. Limited appearance allows the individual to hire an attorney to only appear in court for that issue, again, saving the individual up to thousands of dollars.
However, 2 conditions must be met before an attorney can offer you limited scope representation. First, the limited scope representation must be reasonable under the circumstances. As Darin Day said in his article, New Limited Scope Rules Benefit Underemployed Attorneys and Overburdened Courts, “it is seldom, if ever, appropriate for an attorney to attempt to divide what the client wishes to be a general representation into a series of LSR’s.” Thus, it might be inappropriate for an attorney to offer limited scope representation when the client wishes to have the attorney work on more than one issue.
Second, the client must give informed consent. When pursuing limited scope representation, you, as the client, should leave your attorney’s office knowing exactly what your attorney will be doing on your behalf, and what they will not be doing. Thus, it is always recommended that you obtain a letter of engagement from the attorney that specifically outlines the tasks the attorney will perform.
While limited scope representation is not appropriate in all cases, the attorneys at the Law Office of Kathryn M. Wayne-Spindler know that clients want to choose the most frugal option. Kathryn M. Wayne-Spindler and her entire staff are ready and able to enter limited scope representation for those clients who would most benefit from limited representation.
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