What is Limited Scope Representation?
“Limited-Scope representation” is the relationship between a Flash Legal Clinic attorney and a person seeking specific legal services in which they have agreed that the scope of the legal services will be limited to specific tasks requested. These rules apply to limited scope representation in family law cases only.
With Limited-Scope assistance, you may be able to handle the whole case yourself, except for a few technical areas that might be too difficult to complete without assistance from an attorney. For example:
You can consult with an attorney to prepare or review legal paperwork, but attend the court hearing yourself, and periodically consult with an attorney who can coach you on the specifics of the law, procedures, and strategy.
You can do the preparation of documents yourself and hire an attorney just to make the court appearance.
You may want to conduct your own investigation (“discovery”) and ask the attorney to assist you in organizing the information in a format which is useful to the court.
Limited-Scope representation (sometimes called “unbundling”) is a way an attorney can help a person with part of their case while they complete the other parts of the case themselves. With limited scope assistance, they may be able to handle the whole case themselves, except for a few technical areas that might be too difficult to complete without assistance from an attorney, For example:
Types of Representation
In this type of limited-scope representation, the party enters into a Limited-Scope services agreement with Flash to provide specific Limited Scope services, (i.e., to draft or assist in drafting legal documents, etc…), but the attorney DOES NOT make any appearance in your case.
This type of limited-scope service occurs when you enter into a Limited-Scope services agreement with Flash and a California Licensed Attorney and you notify the court and all other parties of the limited-scope representation. A substitution of attorney form (FL-950) will be filed with the court.
There is no legal requirement to disclose to others; the attorney’s assistance in Limited-Scope representation services.
A separate fee agreement must be executed for specific legal services performed by a Flash Attorney. The party determines how much of the case the attorney is hired to perform. FlashLegal Clinic offers A’ Law Carte Limited-Scope menu of services to assist you based on your specific request. (additional fee agreement required)
Some areas of the law are extremely technical and it is rare for non-attorneys to effectively handle them. Attorney assistance is suggested if your case involves any of these issues.
Among these are:
High conflict child custody
Domestic violence restraining orders
Dividing business interests
It is Important to discuss your case thoroughly with an Attorney
It is important to thoroughly discuss all aspects of your case (even those which you think are simple) with your attorney before deciding which parts you want to perform yourself and which ones the attorney will assist you with.
It is equally important to realize there may be important issues presented by your case you aren’t aware of. You could be at serious legal risk about an issue you don’t even realize exists. If you don’t discuss them with a licensed attorney, how will you know?
Remember, you and your attorney are working as a team. That means good communication and a clear understanding of your responsibilities is essential. Flash Legal Clinic offers access to affordable legal assistance based on your specific request. Additionally you can manage all forms, documents, and evidence pertaining to your case on the Flash Legal Clinic secure client portal.
1. The limitations on scope must be informed and in writing.
2. Changes in scope must be documented in writing.
3. An attorney has an affirmative duty to advise the client on related matters, even if not asked.
Limited scope representation does not differ substantially from full representation provided by an attorney. In fact, the attorney’s responsibility is equally applicable to full scope representation.
Even when limiting the scope of legal representation, the attorney – client relationship exists within the scope of the contracted services. The attorney has a professional ethical obligations to the client, including:
The duty to maintain confidentiality.
The duty to act competently.
The duty not to communicate with another person known to be represented by legal counsel in the matter (absent written permission from counsel to do so).
The duty to avoid conflicts of interest.
The client also has responsibilities in the attorney – client relationship, including:
The obligation to be truthful regarding information provided.
The obligation to cooperate with requests for information.
The obligation to keep attorney informed of changes or “new” information about the case.
The obligation to maintain the payment agreement regarding fees and costs arranged with the attorney/clinic.
Nondisclosure – In a family law proceeding, an attorney who contracts with a client to draft or assist in drafting legal documents, but does not make an appearance in the case, is not required to disclose within the text of the document that he or she was involved in preparing the documents.
Attorney’s fees – If either party seeks a court order for attorney’s fees incurred as a result of document preparation, the litigant must disclose to the court information required for a proper determination of attorney’s fees, including the name of the attorney who assisted in the preparation of the documents, the time involved or other basis for billing, the tasks performed, and the amount billed.