California Limited Scope Representation

by Andy I. Chen on Jan. 05, 2020

 General Practice Lawsuit & Dispute Divorce & Family Law 

Summary: A brief introduction to the concept of Limited Scope Representation and how it could be used in cases in California state court.

Many people who are involved in a legal case of some kind -- litigation or otherwise -- would like to have an attorney represent them. My experience, however, is that only some of these people actually do have an attorney working on their case. A common reason for this is cost -- namely, many people think that they cannot afford an attorney, often because they believe that they have to hire an attorney for their entire case as opposed to just part of it. 

In such a situation, it may be beneficial for a person to explore something called Limited Scope Representation. This is when an attorney is hired for just a portion of a case instead of the entire case. Such an arrangement can be beneficial for the attorney (e.g. lesser time committment, etc) and also beneficial to the client (e.g. lower cost). Each attorney is different, though, so if you're interested in Limited Scope Representation for your case, you may need to shop around until you find an attorney near you who offers it. 

Two negative points about Limited Scope Representation:

  1. First, Limited Scope Representation doesn't work in every case. In my experience, it works the best in case that neatly divide out in to phases (e.g. Phase 1, Phase 2, etc). If there is no natural or logical division between tasks, then Limited Scope Representation might not work. 
  2. Second, many cases build on themselves. In other words, in order to do one phase of a case (e.g. Phase 4), you often will need to know what happened in Phase 1, 2, and 3 also. There are always exceptions, of course, but you usually can't just do Phase 4 independently. 

Good luck.

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