This post expands upon a previous article, Customizing Your Case.
Limited scope representation means hiring an attorney to provide services for certain, but not all, tasks.
Maryland Rule 19-301.2(c) states: An attorney may limit the scope of the representation in accordance with applicable Maryland Rules if (1) the limitation is reasonable under the circumstances, (2) the client gives informed consent, and (3) the scope and limitations of any representation, beyond an initial consultation or brief advice provided without a fee, are clearly set forth in a writing, including any duty on the part of the attorney under Rule 1-324 to forward notices to the client.
Limited scope representation services are available both in court cases/litigation and outside of any court case (so, for settlement, advice, or drafting services only, whether suit has been filed or not).
In litigation, clients have the choice of full-service representation (meaning the attorney participates in all parts of the court case) or limited scope representation (meaning some, but not all parts). Limited scope representation must be carefully defined, especially when there is an existing court case, so the client and attorney have clear expectations about each person’s responsiblities. For example, Montgomery County Circuit Court has developed an Acknowledgement form that must be filed whenever an attorney and client engage in limited scope representation in a court case: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/…/Acknowledgment-of-Scope….
In settlement, clients have the choice of full-services represenatation (meaning, from start to end, in all parts of the settlement process) or limited scope representation (meaning some, but not all parts). In limited scope representation, the client takes on more responsibility for certain parts of the settlement process – whether doing more of the information gathering, more negotiation, or attending mediation without an attorney. Again, it is important to define expectations of the representation so responsiblities are clear.
In either case, the attorney and client can revisit and redefine the scope as representation goes on. Before engaging in limited scope representation, a client should first consult with an attorney about the differences between full-service and limited scope representation, what each involves, advantages and disadvantages, and cost. This is so you have a full understanding and can make educated decisions about your particular situation.