Limited scope representation (also called unbundled legal services) is a way for people to obtain the help of a lawyer without paying for the cost of full representation. Limited scope representation makes hiring a lawyer more affordable for low and moderate income individuals and allows attorneys to provide legal assistance to those who would otherwise be unable to afford an attorney. Maryland court rules allow attorneys to enter limited appearances in court.
What is limited scope representation?
When an attorney agrees to provide you with limited scope representation, it means that the attorney will do certain things for you, but will not take on all of the responsibility for your case. For example, an attorney may agree to help you draft a complaint for divorce, but you will file the case in your own name and go to the court hearing on your own. This may be a good arrangement for you, if you have a simple divorce case.
What are some examples of limited scope representation?
• You represent yourself through the whole case, but consult with an attorney who gives you advice on the law, procedures and strategy,
• You have an attorney help you to prepare the paperwork and you attend the hearing yourself,
• You prepare the paperwork and hire the attorney to appear in court for you, or
• You hire the attorney to appear with you at a settlement conference or mediation, but not at any court hearing.
When you discuss limited scope representation with an attorney, you need to make sure that you understand what all parts of the case are and what you will do and what the attorney will do. Your attorney should provide you with a written agreement that clearly states what tasks you will perform and what tasks the attorney will perform.
Is limited scope representation a good idea for every type of case?
No. Limited scope representation is not always appropriate. Many cases are complicated or involve a high amount of conflict and in those situations, limited scope representation is not a good idea. Hiring an attorney for full representation may be essential if your case involves extensive discovery, complicated motions or briefs.
What types of cases may be good for limited scope representation?
• Simple uncontested divorces
• Small claims cases or small dollar district court collections cases
• Employment disputes
• Landlord-tenant disputes
How do I find an attorney who provides limited scope representation?
Not every attorney provides limited scope representation. You should feel free to call multiple attorneys to find one who is willing to provided limited scope representation. Some Civil Justice Network attorneys will provide limited scope representation in certain cases. However, remember that not every type of case is appropriate for limited scope representation. The more complicated your case is, the less likely it is that a limited scope arrangement is a good idea. If you are looking for a Maryland attorney go to our Find An Attorney page for a list of Civil Justice Network attorneys, or call our intake line for a referral – 410-706-0174.