The State of Limited Scope Representation Law

The American Bar Association just released an update to its 2005 white paper, “An Analysis of Rules That Enable Lawyers to Serve Self-Represented Litigants.”  This is an important update that indicates “substantial policy shifts among several states” and a document you should review either (a) to confirm you understand your own state’s place on the spectrum, or (b) to help your efforts to improve the applicable rules in your state so Limited Scope Representation can expand.

The appendices are rich with useful material:

Appendix A:  a worksheet to determine rule changes that enable lawyers to serve pro se litigants

Appendix B:  relevant rules of ethics and procedure (including ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct)

Here is the TOC:

Table of Contents
I. Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………1
II. Background ………………………………………………………………………………..1
III. Rules Authorizing Limited Scope Representation …………………………….4
ABA Model Rule 1.2(c) …………………………………………………………………….4
State Rules: Varying Written Consent Requirements ……………………………5
No Written Consent Mandate ……………………………………………………………5
Written Consent Preferred ……………………………………………………………….5
Written Consent Required…………………………………………………………………6
The Conflict Between ABA Model Rules 1.2(c) and 1.1 …………………………7
Reconciling ABA Model Rules 1.2(c) and 1.1 ………………………………………8
IV. Rules Clarifying Communications Between Counsel and Parties ………..10
ABA Model Rules 4.2 and 4.3 ……………………………………………………………10
State Rules Governing Communications ……………………………………………..10
V. Rules Creating Parameters for the Lawyer’s Role in Document Preparation ..12
The Conflict Between Limited Scope Document Preparation and Certification of Pleadings ..12
State Rules of Civil Procedure Governing Certification of Pleadings ………..12
Point 1: Factual Representation vs. Independent Inquiry ……………………….12
Point 2: Notifying the Court ……………………………………………………………….13
Point 3: Appearances as a Result of Signing Pleadings ………………………..16
VI. Rules Governing the Entry of Appearances and Withdrawals in Court ..17
Creating the Limited Appearance ………………………………………………………17
Notice to the Opposing Side ……………………………………………………………..21
Procedures for Withdrawal ……………………………………………………………….23
VII. Excusing Conflicts Checks for Limited Service Programs …………………27
Limited Scope Representation as Legal Information……………………………..27
Limited Scope Representation as Legal Advice …………………………………..28
ABA Model Rule 6.5 …………………………………………………………………………28
State Rules Governing Conflicts ………………………………………………………..29
VII. Conclusion ………………………………………………………………………………..30

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