Oftentimes clients seek for our office to serve as the attorney of record in their case, and this means that our office handles all aspects of the case, including any necessary court appearances. However, there are times when our office will agree to limited scope representation, also called “unbundling” of legal services. Limited scope representation has become a means by which individuals on a limited budget can gain access to the experience of an attorney.
The American Bar Association also refers to this type of representation as “unbundled legal services,” pay as you go legal services,” or “ala carte legal services.” Limited scope representation means that the attorney does not enter an appearance in the case as the “attorney of record,” or the attorney that will be handling all aspects of the case. Instead, the attorney makes a limited appearance for a particular part of the case or provides the individual with document preparation or review or counsel and advice while the individual represents himself/herself in court, called pro se representation.
Mississippi began allowing limited scope representation as a means to allow more individuals access to legal representation. Examples of limited scope representation that our office may provide:
Limited scope representation is not available in all cases. For example, the court will not permit limited scope representation in probate matters in Mississippi, including probate of wills, some guardianships and conservatorships. However, it can be beneficial in other cases. An individual may seek to represent himself/herself in a lawsuit, but needs direction of an attorney to draft court documents. However, it is important to remember that certain cases can prove challenging to handle on your own.
As with any legal matter, limited scope representation has risks—the main risk is that you are responsible for what occurs in your case. By choosing to represent yourself the court is not permitted to provide preferential treatment. The judge cannot act as both the judge and your attorney. The more complicated the case, the greater the risks.
Limited scope representation is an alternative to hiring an attorney to serve as an attorney of record—enter an appearance with the court and handle all aspects of the case. Our office may be willing support an individual that is representing him/herself before the court as a pro se litigant. We will have to become familiar with the entire case to advise you about the rights and issues, although the representation will be for only a portion of the case. Prior to agreeing to limited scope representation, our office must meet with you to determine if your case is appropriate for this type of representation.
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