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Limited Scope Representation

Limited Scope Representation

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Limited Scope Representation

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  1. Limited ScopeRepresentation By M. Sue Talia

  2. What it Isn’t • Limited liability • Second class practice • Unethical • Inherently dangerous • Just about poor people • Good for every case • Good for every issue • Good for every client

  3. What it Is • Quality practice of law • An attorney-client relationship • Limited Scope • Ethical • Safe • A Profit Center

  4. Why Now? • Overwhelming need demands innovation in practice • Inability of traditional models to serve vast pools of potential clients • Consumer demand for affordable legal services • Court need for intelligible pleadings and procedural assistance for pro se litigants

  5. Topics to be Covered • Ethical issues • Malpractice issues • Best Practices • Turn-key office intake and risk management materials • Practical problems • Marketing

  6. Defining the Continuum • Wide array of potential services • Tailored to each case • Tailored to each client • Changes as the case or client’s skill (or lack thereof) evolves

  7. The Four Basic Ethical Rules(aka No-Brainers) • Limitations must be informed and in writing • Limitations must be reasonable under the circumstances • Changes in scope must be documented • Clients must be advised on related issues EVEN IF THEY DON’T ASK • These duties are NON-DELEGABLE

  8. Tasks and Issues • Use your professional judgment • Do a thorough intake • The most common: • Document assistance • Procedural assistance • Strategy and advice • Attending the occasional hearing

  9. Client Selection • The Poster Child • The Unbundled Client from Hell • Everyone in between

  10. Going to Court • The Unbundled Lawyer’s Greatest Fear • Getting In • Getting Out

  11. Malpractice Issues • Remember the four No-Brainers • Document your file • Checklists are your Best Friend • Use good judgment in defining the scope • NEVER step outside the bright line box without drawing a new bright line box • Tailor and use the Risk Management Materials

  12. The Risk Management Materials Your Ticket to a Good Night’s Sleep (Courtesy of the California Commission on Access to Justice)

  13. Client Handouts and Resources • Client handout describing limited scope (remember No-Brainer #1?) • MapQuest directions to court, self help centers, law library, any other regularly used resources • Handouts re common issues such as dividing furniture, severing joint tenancies, etc. • Common sense web sites relevant to your practice (e.g. divorceinfo.com)

  14. Re-Drawing the Box • New issues • “Help! This is harder than I thought!” • Expanding the scope • Reducing the scope • Beware of emergencies, real or imagined

  15. Practical Issues • Dealing with opposing counsel • Dealing with the courts • Getting papers filed • New issues pop up like mushrooms • Resisting changes in the scope • The revolving-door limited scope lawyer on the other side of the case • Service of process

  16. Support Groups • Informal support groups with colleagues who unbundle are a boon • Email, listserves, brown bags, etc.

  17. Marketing your Practi$e • Brochures • Websites • Public Speaking • Community cable TV and radio • Online yellow pages • Your eternally grateful unbundled clients

  18. A Final Word Lest the citizenry lose faith in the substance of the system and the procedures we use to administer it, we can ill afford to confront them with a government dominated by forms and mysterious rituals and then tell them they lose because they did not know how to play the game or should not have taken us at our word. Moore v. Price, 914 S.W. 2d 318, 323 (Ark. 1996), Mayfield, J., Dissenting.

  19. Q & A

  20. My Contact Info M. Sue Talia P.O. Box 2335 Danville, CA 94526-7335 Phone: 925-838-2660 Fax: 925-743-1614 Email: sue@unbundledlaw.org Note: Please put the words “limited scope” or “unbundling” in the subject line to avoid being lost in cyber-space

  21. The End