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Our Family Law clients are offered modified means, unbundled services. The rate is determined based on the household income and complexity of your case. We also offer unbundled services for our family law matters. We can charge flat fees that range between $500-$2000 for some of the legal services such as consultations, document reviews, document preparation, or limited scope representation. We generally charge hourly rates for more complex consultation, document review of the existing document, or investigations, legal research, and appearance at the hearings. Please go to Family Law Page for details.
We are committed to meeting the need for access to justice for the elderly and disabled people and their families with low and fixed incomes that can't get legal help at legal aid organizations and can't pay the customary fees for the legal services. We offer flat fees that range from $500-$2000 for document review, research, and other limited scope appearances. Please go to the Family Law Page for details. FAMILY LAW
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Limited-scope representation is when you and a lawyer agree that the lawyer will handle some parts of your case and you will handle others. This is different from more traditional arrangements between lawyers and clients where a lawyer is hired to provide legal services on all aspects of a case, from start to finish. Limited-scope representation is sometimes called “unbundling” or “discrete task representation.”
Here are some examples of limited-scope arrangements:
You can just consult a lawyer and get legal information and advice about your case when you need it.
You can hire the lawyer to represent you on certain issues in your case (like child support or custody) while you do the rest yourself.
You can hire the lawyer to prepare the forms and other court documents but file them yourself and represent yourself at the hearings.
You can hire the lawyer to coach you on how to represent yourself at the court hearings and help you prepare the evidence that you will present in court.
You can hire the lawyer to help you with the more complicated parts of your case, such as discovery and legal research while you do the simpler tasks yourself.
When you cannot afford to pay for a lawyer to handle your entire case, limited-scope representation can be a great way for you to have legal help with your case while keeping costs down. Courts approve of limited-scope representation because they want to encourage people to get as much legal assistance as they need to protect their rights. They know that you will do a better job of following proper court procedures and presenting the important information to them if you have the help of a lawyer during the more complicated parts of a case.
Deciding if limited-scope representation is right for you
When trying to decide if a limited-scope arrangement is right for you, you should:
Discuss your case with a lawyer in depth, including areas that you want to handle yourself. If you do not discuss the whole case with the lawyer, even the parts that you think are simple and want to handle yourself, you will not know if you have overlooked something that is legally important. Once you have had this discussion, you and the lawyer can agree on whether a limited-scope arrangement will work for you and your case and you can be comfortable that you have identified any hidden complications.
Decide if you are willing to take on full responsibility for those parts of the case you will handle on your own. Remember that the lawyer went to law school and probably has years of experience in this area. That means that he or she will know things you do not about the legal process. If you instruct your lawyer not to take certain steps, either to save money or because you want to remain in control, you will have the full responsibility for the outcome in the parts of the case you do yourself, even with a lawyer coaching you.
In deciding if you can hire a limited-scope lawyer for a child custody case and whether you will be able to handle the rest of the case on your own, consider:
Is there a dispute about custody of your children? Visitation or time-share? Where they go to school? To church?
Is the disagreement likely to be resolved by mediation?
Is a formal evaluation likely to be required?
Is it likely that you will have a contested trial?
What kinds of witnesses or evidence are likely to be presented by your side? By the other parent's?
Does 1 of you want to take the children and move away?
Are there contentions that 1 of you is an unfit parent?
Does either side allege domestic violence against the other parent or the children?
In deciding if you can hire a limited-scope lawyer for a child support case and whether you will be able to handle the rest of the case on your own, consider:
Is the income of both of you easy to determine (as in a W-2, paystub or some other available document)?
How likely is it that there is additional income from other sources that must be discovered or evaluated?
How difficult is it going to be to get the information necessary to prove the additional income?
Will you need to subpoena records or take depositions?
Is it likely that an outside party will have to go over records to find missing income? Does this need to be a lawyer? A paralegal? An accountant?
Is spousal or partner support going to be in dispute? If you agree it will be paid, do you agree on the amount? Do you agree on the duration?
What happens if I later need more services from the limited-scope lawyer?
A: New issues frequently come up in legal matters. That means that you may find you need more assistance from the lawyer than you originally expected. If you use limited scope, you can always go back to the lawyer and ask for more assistance. Your lawyer will already be familiar with you and your case because of his or her prior involvement. This will be much more efficient than trying to find another lawyer to help you and then educate him or her about your case. Remember, you are paying for your lawyer’s time, so it is very inefficient to keep paying new lawyers to learn about your legal issues.
Limited-scope representation vs. full representation
There are many benefits to limited-scope representation over full representation:
By only paying a lawyer to do those parts of your case that you cannot do yourself, you can save you money on legal fees.
The lawyer can use his or her time more efficiently by focusing that time on things you cannot effectively do yourself and leaving other more time-consuming tasks to you.
You can keep greater control of your case than if the lawyer handles the entire case.
But, there are many times when limited-scope may not be a good choice, like when:
Your case has a lot of technical issues or is very time-sensitive. You can read about some of these cases by clicking “Types of cases where lawyers are necessary”.
You do not have the time to put into educating yourself and effectively handling many of the tasks that you need to do.
There is a lot of stake in your case, so if you lose, you could lose your home, lose rights to see your children, or owe a lot of money.
Limited-scope representation vs. representing yourself
Limited-scope representation can often also be a better alternative than representing yourself:
Having a lawyer helping you with parts of your case can save you a lot of time and energy because the lawyer can educate you about the process and your specific issues. He or she can also help you find self-help books and other resources so you can handle the parts of the case when you are on your own.
A lawyer, by being more removed from your case than you are, can see things about your case that you cannot. A lawyer can help you focus on the legal issues and on what the court can do for you, and not let yourself be distracted by other issues and emotions.
A lawyer can identify potential problems or hidden complications early on, so you can avoid making a costly mistake.
Working with a limited-scope lawyer
You and the lawyer should have an in-depth discussion about all the aspects of your case, and agree on your respective responsibilities.
Some of the issues you need to work out with the lawyer are:
Who will decide on the strategy?
Who will gather what information?
Who will prepare the information for the court?
Who will draft documents for the court?
Who will appear at court proceedings and settlement conferences?
Who will negotiate with the other side?
In making decisions about these issues, remember that the lawyer has the education and experience to work on the more technical parts of your case, guide you throughout the court process, and spot important legal issues that you may not see on your own.
You and the limited-scope lawyer will be working as a team, but it is your case. If you and the lawyer cannot agree on who should take on which parts of the case, or on decisions that need to be made in your case, you should listen to what the lawyer says. If the lawyer feels strongly that the course you want to take is not in your best interests, listen carefully to the reasons why he or she is recommending you do something differently.
But, in the end, it is your case, your decision and your responsibility. You have the right to disregard the lawyer’s advice, but if the case does not turn out the way you hoped, you have to be willing to accept the responsibility for your decision.
The lawyer will likely tell you where to look to find tools to help you assist in your own representation. Tto limited-scope representation.
First, make sure your contract with the limited-scope lawyer is very clear, and that every detail you discussed in terms of handling the case is in writing. If anything changes, you can always agree to increase or change the scope of representation between the 2 of you at a later time.
Your contract should be very clear on what the lawyer will and will not be doing, as well as what you, the client, will be doing. The contract should also clearly specify how you will be charged and your fee arrangement. The clearer you are, the more likely you are to avoid any misunderstandings.
Before you sign, make sure you understand everything in the agreement and the risks of limited-scope representation.