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Limited Scope Representation. By M. Sue Talia. 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. What it Is. Quality practice of law

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what it isn t
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
what it is
What it Is
  • Quality practice of law
  • An attorney-client relationship
  • Limited Scope
  • Ethical
  • Safe
  • A Profit Center
why now
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
topics to be covered
Topics to be Covered
  • Ethical issues
  • Malpractice issues
  • Best Practices
  • Turn-key office intake and risk management materials
  • Practical problems
  • Marketing
defining the continuum
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
the four basic ethical rules aka no brainers
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
tasks and issues
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
client selection
Client Selection
  • The Poster Child
  • The Unbundled Client from Hell
  • Everyone in between
going to court
Going to Court
  • The Unbundled Lawyer’s Greatest Fear
  • Getting In
  • Getting Out
malpractice issues
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
the risk management materials

The Risk Management Materials

Your Ticket to a Good Night’s Sleep

(Courtesy of the California Commission on Access to Justice)

client handouts and resources
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.
re drawing the box
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
practical issues
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
support groups
Support Groups
  • Informal support groups with colleagues who unbundle are a boon
  • Email, listserves, brown bags, etc.
marketing your practi e
Marketing your Practi$e
  • Brochures
  • Websites
  • Public Speaking
  • Community cable TV and radio
  • Online yellow pages
  • Your eternally grateful unbundled clients
a final word
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.

my contact info
My Contact Info

M. Sue Talia

P.O. Box 2335

Danville, CA 94526-7335

Phone: 925-838-2660

Fax: 925-743-1614


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