Limited Scope Representation
Limited scope representation means hiring an attorney to provide services for certain, but not all, tasks. 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 responsibilities. Some courts require the attorney and client to submit a written acknowledgement specifically identifying the limited services to be performed.
For example, limited scope representation in litigation might involve representing the client at one hearing. Or, only for certain court-ordered services (like mediation or a settlement conference).
In settlement, clients have the choice of full-services representation (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 responsibilities are clear.
Additionally, representation can be limited to settlement only, and excluding representation in contested litigation if settlement is unsuccessful. The scope of representation can be revisited, redefined, and expanded as the client’s needs or circumstances change.
Before deciding upon 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, cost, the proposed scope of services, and the attorney’s willingness. This is to have a full understanding and make educated decisions.
I welcome opportunities for limited scope representation when doing so serves the client’s best interests and can reasonably achieve the client’s specific needs and goals.
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