Limited Scope Representation
(Shared with permission from the Illinois State Bar Association)
What is Limited Scope Representation?
It is an arrangement with a lawyer to get help on some parts of a case for a set fee or limited fees. In a limited scope arrangement, you agree that the lawyer will handle some of the work in your case and that you will handle the rest on your own. You should sign a written retainer or representation agreement with your lawyer that states the specific services the lawyer will provide.
Are there other names for this?
Limited scope representation is sometimes called unbundling, discreet task representation, or a la carte services.
Why would I be interested in limited scope representation?
It may be a more affordable option if you believe that you can do some of the work on your own, without a lawyer’s help.
What are examples of limited scope representation?
· A lawyer reviews documents you have prepared or prepares documents for you.
· A lawyer prepares the evidence you will present in court.
· A lawyer advises you of the legal strategies you may use or the case law you may introduce in court.
· A lawyer appears in court for one or more parts of your case (usually the most difficult or technical) while you represent yourself in simpler parts.
What are the benefits of limited scope representation?
You might save money if you are wiling and able to handle parts of your case on your own. A lawyer can handle the parts that you can’t or don’t want to do yourself. This process may offer you more control over your case than if a lawyer handles the whole process.
What are the risks of limited scope representation?
There may be hidden complications in your case that you are not aware of because you do not have legal training. When the lawyer finishes the specific tasks they agreed to, the lawyer is done with the case and is not obligated to provide you with more assistance later.
What if the lawyer doesn’t want to do what I ask?
Ultimately the choice on how to proceed is yours. If your lawyer feels strongly that the course you want to take is not in your best interest you should listen carefully to the reasons why. However, the ultimate decision and responsibility belongs to you. You have the right to disregard your lawyer’s advice, but you must accept responsibility for your decision if the case doesn’t turn out the way you hoped. You also have the right to seek legal advice from another lawyer or hire another lawyer.
If you have additional questions or would like a referral to a lawyer who offers limited scope representation or unbundled services, please call The Lilac Tree at 847-328-0313.