Limited Scope Retainer Agreements Between Attorney and Client

Limited Scope Fee Agreements Between an Attorney and Client

Limited scope fee agreements, also called unbundled services, are most often used in family law cases. They can be used in prejudgment or post judgment divorce or parentage matters. 

Limited scope services are quite simply services that are limited in the work the attorney will provide for the client. How limited is the scope of work? How well defined can the attorney and client limit the work?

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Limited Scope Fee Agreements

How does limited scope representation work?

If a client hires an attorney to represent the client in a divorce, that is not a limited scope service. That is because a divorce can involve numerous different levels of an attorney's professional services. If however the client hires the attorney to prepare paperwork in anticipation of one hearing and to appear at that hearing, that limited service falls within a limited scope agreement.

A limited scope fee agreement does not have an artificial limitation that applies to every situation

For example, a limited scope fee agreement may include not just the initial hearing but any continuance of the initial hearing. It can also include specific discovery such as subpoenas to third persons or financial institutions to gather information for the hearing. Whatever the scope happens to be should be defined specifically within the fee agreement the attorney presents to the client.

An attorney will also typically ask a client to sign a judicial Council form number FL – 950 which is titled, "notice of limited scope representation." This form once filed and served represents to the court and the other party the attorney is coming into the case on the limited scope and not a general one.

Limited scope fee agreements work well for men and women of modest or limited means

Limited scope fee agreements and limited scope representation is useful for clients who have limited resources and cannot afford general scope representation. It is also helpful for those clients who have simple, defined needs.

Limited scope fee agreements may be hourly, flat fee or even a combination.

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