Expanding Resources for Expanding Access


The limited scope representation movement is a key part of the effort to bring about equal justice under law via access to the courts. There is now a swelling number of lawyers across the country who offer unbundled assistance tailored to the specific budget and needs of clients who can handle some aspects of their legal matters themselves. This is very different from several decades ago when judges used the “fingerprint rule” to pull any lawyer whose activities could be detected in a client’s matter into full scope representation without consent or concern for getting the lawyer paid.

Periodically, I like to look at the ways state court systems and bar associations are rolling out and updating resources for lawyers who want to offer limited scope representation as a core or secondary part of their for-profit practices.  Below are some materials you may find helpful.


I start with Texas because it is different.  It is one state that has not updated its own disciplinary rules in decades, falling well behind most and clearly behind the ABA.  Even so, Texas has been working hard to improve access to the courts for self-represented litigants as well as partially-represented litigants.  For example, on the Texas Access to Justice Commission’s site, you can find information on free online CLE from active LSR practitioners and judges (http://is.gd/LSRinTX) as well as find out how to schedule a presentation in your area.  One of those lawyers, Matt Probus, gave a presentation to the Dallas Bar Association a few years ago that is posted on their site at http://is.gd/HYXm8w.


The Missouri Office of State Court Administration has a toolkit posted online intended for judges that has helpful materials.  One chapter, “Limited Scope Representation and Pro Bono Practice,” walks the reader through Missouri’s Supreme Courts Rules on LSR and bridges the gap between traditional, full-scope practice and the limited version, including the encouragement to award attorney’s fees when appropriate, even though the party was only partially represented. See the toolkit here: http://is.gd/LSRinMO.


The Illinois State Bar set up a Practice Resource Center online at http://is.gd/LSRinIL.  Those include links to the rules amended in 2013 to clarify that LSR is appropriate in Illinois as well as a number of free resources.


Finally, you can’t complete your research without a stop at the ABA’s site.  They can’t mention my book there because they sell an $80 book they feel is a competitor (I disagree), but you can get a number of good materials there.  Start with this recent article that gives Sue Talia, the “Queen of LSR in America,” her due, summarizing her February 2015 webinar: http://is.gd/LSRatABA. (And as for that $80 book: you may be able to find it in your local library if you are cost conscious!)

There are other resources out there if you look. I will keep looking as well!


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