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Limited Scope Representation
What Are Your Legal Needs?

Limited scope representation is when a case is broken up into segments and you pay an attorney for the parts they help you with. The attorney and client sign a contract stating what the attorney is assisting with for the case. This method may be cheaper than full representation and places the responsibility of handling the case back on the client.

Limited scope representation is also called:
  • Limited Appearance Representation
  • Unbundled Legal Services
  • Unbundled Services
  • Discrete Task Representation
  • Discrete Legal Representation
Limited Scope Representation
Benefits Risks

Costs are greatly reduced if you only have an attorney play a small role.

There are potential risks if it is a technical or time sensitive legal matter.

Difficult or confusing parts of a case can be delegated to an attorney.

Since YOU are the one responsible for keeping track of your case, you must make sure things are submitted on time to the court.

Control of the case is in your hands.

You must know the court protocols (submitting evidence, introducing witnesses, presenting the facts of the case).

Education on case specifics and court processes from a legal expert.

You must learn what statutes and rules apply to your trial/hearing.

If you get stumped by something, you have an attorney who knows your case that you can ask (and pay) to take on extra tasks. They are NOT required or obligated to agree to help.

Limited scope representation can be provided by any licensed attorney in Arizona. The decision to offer limited scope representation is up to the lawyer and the needs of the case. Lawyers are not required to offer these services, but if they decide to do so, the extent of the representation is decided between them and the client.

You may meet in person with the attorney, or communicate through emails, over the phone, text messages, and written notices, forms, briefs, or memos.
Limited scope representation works best for cases that are not technical or complex. These could include:
  • Non-contested family law matters (divorce, paternity, custody)
  • Civil claims seeking damages above $3,500
  • Traffic violations
  • Probate matters and life care planning
  • Name changes
  • Set asides
You and the attorney will look over the entire case and decide what parts they will handle for you. These could include:
  • Gathering information or doing research.
  • Filling out forms.
  • Going to court and filing paperwork.
  • Speaking with the opposing counsel.
A Notice of Limited Scope Representation is filed with the court and shared with everyone involved in the matter, including the court.
Limited scope representation can cause confusion on who should be contacted or where documents should be sent. To avoid these pitfalls, make sure that:
  • Opposing counsel knows who they should contact on specific matters.
  • To whom and where pleadings, notices, correspondence should be sent.
  • Everyone involved knows who may accept items on your behalf.
Under limited scope representation you are protected under the same rules as if you hired a lawyer full-time. Be careful, because this is not true for all forms of representation. If you have hired an attorney as a "Ghostwriter" to prepare forms, you do not have the same protections.
Once the attorney has completed the tasks specified in the Notice of Limited Scope Representation, an attorney can file a motion to withdraw
(1) with consent (with signatures for both the attorney and the client) or
(2) without consent
(without the client's signature). Then it is served to everyone involved.

After the withdrawal is granted by the court, your current contact information is shared with the other counsel, ensuring that they are communicating with the correct person(s).
Forms (courtesy of the State Bar of Arizona)
Limited Scope Representation - Full Packet
Tips for Lawyers Representing Clients on a Limited Scope
Sample Limited Scope Fee Agreement Language
Sample Informed Consent
Sample Disengagement Letter
Form 1 - Notice of Limited Scope Representation
Notice of Withdrawal of Attorney with Consent