LIMITED SCOPE REPRESENTATION
THINKING ABOUT PROCEEDING PRO SE?
The Maryland courts have recognized that many individuals enter a legal dispute or pending litigation unrepresented or “pro se.” There are many reasons for this, but cost is usually the primary factor. Sometimes the amount in controversy is a small claim (i.e., under $3,000) making it uneconomical to retain an attorney or other times litigants simply cannot afford legal representation. Another reason is that there are some individuals who are comfortable proceeding pro se even though they may not be completely familiar with the court’s processes and procedures (the “savvy” pro se litigant). This often occurs in the district court or for uncontested matters in district or circuit court. What you may not be aware of is that there is another choice between deciding to retain an attorney of not. In Maryland this is known as limited scope representation or unbundled legal services.
MARYLAND RULES PERMIT LIMITED SCOPE REPRESENTATION
Limited scope representation is prescribed pursuant to Maryland Rules 2-131, 3-131, and 19-301.2(c). It generally means that an attorney can be retained for a limited basis, and he or she can enter his or her appearance in an action for a specific job or purpose. However, that attorney is not being retained to represent a party in all aspects of that party’s case. Pursuant to a written agreement that limits the scope of representation, an attorney can be retained for a limited basis to, e.g.:
Argue a motion;
Attend a pretrial or settlement conference;
Represent a party in court-ordered mediation or other court-ordered alternative dispute resolution;
Act as an attorney for a hearing, disposition, or trial;
Draft subpoenas, complaints, answers, counter-complaints, or other pleadings, discovery requests, or other legal documents; or
For another specified purpose.
An attorney that is retained for limited representation must, in his or her entry of appearance, and among other things, specify the scope of the limited appearance, which informs the court exactly what he or she will be doing in the case. Limited scope representation is largely a matter of agreement between the client and the attorney, so both parties must have a written understanding of what the attorney will be doing for the client prior to he or she entering his or her limited appearance in a case.
Although the rules regarding limited scope representation may seem complicated, limited scope representation is actually a fairly straightforward concept. Granted the circumstances permit a limited scope appearance, then a client may hire an attorney to handle a part of litigation that he or she may prefer an attorney to perform. Once the attorney has completed the agreed upon task, then the attorney’s representation in that matter has ended.
THE LAW OFFICE OF P. HONG LE, LLC CAN HELP
If you are a pro se party that has chosen to proceed without legal representation, but you may not be comfortable handling all aspects of your case alone, then limited scope representation may be the right option for you. The Law Office of P. Hong Le, LLC offers limited scope representation on a reasonable hourly rate or flat fee basis depending on the scope of representation or the task required. Contact the Office today to schedule a free consultation regarding limited scope representation, and to receive advice on the best way to accomplish your goals in your legal matter!