Pro Se Resources by State

Alabama


Court Rules

Alabama Rule of Professional Conduct 1.1 permits limited scope representation

Alabama Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2 governs the responsibility to put limited scope representation agreements in writing.

Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct 4.2 and 4.3 governs notice requirements to opposing attorneys in limited scope representation contexts.

Alabama Rule of Professional Conduct 6.5 governs the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Alabama Rule of Civil Procedure 11 establishes procedures for preparing pleadings in the limited scope representation context.

Alabama Rule of Civil Procedure 87 details the procedures for establishing and completing limited scope representation.

Ethics Opinions

Alabama Stat Bar Ass’n Ethics Op. 2010-01
The Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct allow a lawyer to limit the scope of the representation. Ordinarily, a lawyer is not required to disclose drafting assistance to the court.

Self-Service Centers

The Alabama Legal Help website includes legal information, forms and instructions.

The Alabama Judicial System’s Forms and Electronic Library  contains fillable forms for child support, small claims and other civil matters.

 

Alaska


Court Rules

Alaska Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2(c), expressly permits limited representation and governs communication between opposing counsel and self-represented client.

Alaska Rule of Professional Conduct 6.5 governs the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Alaska Rule of Civil Procedure 81 governs limited appearances and includes:

  • Rule 81(d) expressly permitting limited appearances in non-criminal cases as long as the attorney files and serves an entry of appearance with the court and all parties of record before or during the initial proceeding and the entry of appearance clearly identifies the limitation; and
  • Rule 81(e)(D) allowing an attorney to withdraw form a limited appearance, without court action or approval, by filing a notice with the court, served on all parties of record, indicating that the representation has ended.


Ethics Opinions

Alaska Bar Ass'n Ethics Op. 93-1 (1993)
A lawyer may ethically limit the scope of representation of a client, but the lawyer should notify the client clearly of the limitation of representation and the potential risks the client is taking by not having full representation. When a lawyer limits the scope of representation, an attorney-client relationship is still created between the lawyer and the client, with all the attendant duties and responsibilities detailed in the Professional Canons.

Self-Service Centers

The Alaska Court System Family Law Self Help Center provides information, forms and instructions on matters relating to family law.

 

Arizona


Articles

David Dodge, Limited Representation and Your Engagement Letter, Arizona Attorney (November 2007)

Court Rules

Arizona Ethics Rule 1.2 governs limited scope representation.

Arizona Ethics Rule 1.5(b) governs requirements for communicating fees and expenses for lawyers who provide short-term limited legal services to a client pursuant to ER 6.5

Arizona Ethics Rules 4.2 and 4.3 govern notice requirements to opposing attorneys in limited scope representation contexts.

Arizona Ethics Rule 6.5 governs the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Arizona Rule of Civil Procedure 5.1(c) permits an attorney to enter a limited appearance by filing and serving a Notice of Limited Scope Representation. It requires an attorney to file a Notice of Withdrawal signed by both the attorney and the client to withdraw representation or, if the client does not consent, a motion to withdraw.

Arizona Rule of Civil Procedure 11(a) establishes procedures for preparing pleadings in the limited scope representation context.

Arizona Rule of Family Law Procedure 9(B) governs limited appearances and includes:

  • Rule 9(B)(1) expressly allowing limited appearances by filing a Notice of Limited Scope Representation that states that the client and attorney have a written agreement and that specifies the matter or issues for which the attorney will represent the party; allowing service on an attorney, once a limited appearance has been filed, for all matters without extending the attorney’s responsibility in the case; and clarifying that nothing in the rule limits an attorney from providing limited scope representation without appearing of record in judicial proceedings.
  • Rule 9(B)(2) permitting an attorney to withdraw from completed representation by filing either a Notice of Withdrawal with Consent or by motion and court order.

Arizona Rule of Civil Procedure 5.2 governs limited appearances in vulnerable adult exploitation actions and includes:

  • Rule 5.2(a) expressly allowing limited appearances by filing a Notice of Limited Scope Representation that states that the client and attorney have a written agreement and that specifies the matter or issues for which the attorney will represent the party; and
  • Rule 5.2(b) allowing service on an attorney, once a limited appearance has been filed, for all matters without extending the attorney’s responsibility in the case and clarifying that nothing in the rule limits an attorney from providing limited scope representation without appearing of record in judicial proceedings; and
  • Rule 5.2(c) permitting an attorney to withdraw from completed representation by filing either a Notice of Withdrawal with Consent or by motion and court order.


Ethics Opinions

Arizona State Bar Ass’n Op. 06-03 (2006)
An attorney who limits the scope of representation and coaches the client or ghost writes papers must direct the client to be truthful and candid in the client’s activities.  While an attorney is not required to disclose to opposing counsel that the attorney is providing limited-scope representation, the attorney must maintain client confidentiality if doing so.

Arizona State Bar Ass’n Op 05-06 (2005)
An attorney representing a client may enter into an agreement limiting the scope of services to a specific and discrete task. An attorney is required to have sufficient knowledge and skill to provide reliable counsel to the limited scope client as to the advisability of the action requested by the client. The attorney providing limited scope representation is not required to disclose to the court or other tribunal that the attorney is providing assistance to a client proceeding in propria persona.

Arizona State Bar Ass'n Op. 91-03 (1991)
A lawyer "may ethically represent a client on a limited basis as long as: 1) the client consents after consultation; 2) the scope of the representation is not so limited as to cause the attorney to violate the Ethical Rules or other law; and 3) the attorney does not advise the client to do something that the attorney would be prohibited from doing personally."

Self-Service Centers

The Arizona Supreme Court Self-Service Center provides information, self-help guides and forms.

The Coconino County Law Library and Self-Help Center provides information, links to other resources, forms, and videos.

The Pima County Law Library website includes a family law quick guide, links for online legal research, and self-service court forms.

The Superior Court of Arizona, Maricopa County, Self-Service Center provides information, forms and contacts for additional assistance. A listing of lawyers and mediators includes online resumes. Forms and instructions are in English and Spanish.

 

Arkansas


Court Rules

Arkansas Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) governs limited scope representation.

Arkansas Rule of Professional Conduct 6.5  governs the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Self-Service Centers

The Arkansas Judiciary Court Forms website offers circuit court forms and instructions.

The Arkansas Legal Services Partnership website offers interactive legal forms and an online legal library.

 

California


Articles

Anthony P. Capozzi, Responding to the Pro Per Crisis, California Bar Journal (Feb 2004).

Jeff Bleich, The Neglected Middle Class, California Bar Journal (June 2008).

Bonnie Hough, Self-Represented Litigants in Family Law: The Response of California’s Courts, California Law Review (January 2010).

Kenneth J. Theisen, Unbundling Legal Services Will Expand Aid to the Poor, Daily Journal (Jan. 15, 2002).

Lisa Young, Limited Scope Representation: An Experiment in San Diego Housing Court, Unpublished paper (2008).

Books and Reports

And Justice For All: Fulfilling the Promise of Access to Civil Justice in California, Access to Justice Working Group, State Bar of California Office of Legal Services (Oct. 1996).

An Ethics Primer on Limited Scope Representation, State Bar of California Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (2004).

Elkins Family Law Task Force Final Report and Recommendations, California Administrative Office of the Courts (April 2010)  [Note: Add new content]

Family Law Limited Representation Risk Management Materials, Limited Representation Committee, California Commission on Access to Justice (January 12, 2004).

Guidelines for the Operation of Self-Help Centers in California Trial Courts, California Administrative Office of the Courts (2008).  

Handling Cases Involving Self-Represented Litigants: A Benchguide for Judicial Officers, California Administrative Office of the Courts (2007).

Pro Per Assistance: A Manual For Legal Services and Pro Bono Providers, Office of Legal Services, State Bar of California (1994).

Report on Limited Scope Legal Assistance with Initial Recommendations, Limited Representation Committee of the California Commission on Access to Justice (Oct. 2001).

The Pro Per Counseling Handbook, Standing Committee on Legal Services to Middle Income Persons, State Bar of California (1994).

Statewide Action Plan For Serving Self-Represented Litigants in California, Task Force on Self-Represented Litigants, Judicial Council of California (2004).

20 Things Judicial Officers Can Do to Encourage Attorneys to Provide Limited Scope Representation, Limited Scope Representation Committee of the California Commission on Access to Justice (2003).

Cases

Nichols v. Keller, 19 Cal.Rptr.2d 601 (1993)
Plaintiff who consulted defendants' law firms regarding workers' compensation claim was not advised of potential for additional third party claim before statue of limitations expired. Defendants argued that plaintiff's representation was limited only to filing workers' compensation claim and no duty existed to advise plaintiff in any other matter. Court found that representation was not limited solely to workers compensation claim, and defendants should have advised plaintiff regarding third party claim.

Ricotta v. California, 4 F.Supp.2d 961 (S.D. Cal. 1998)
Attorney licensed in the State of California did not violate procedural, substantive, and professional rules of a federal court by lending some assistance to friends, family members, and others with whom she shared specialized knowledge. Attorney performed research and prepared rough drafts of portions of pro se litigant's pleadings in an action against various official defendants, but did not sign the documents. Because attorney did not gather and anonymously present legal arguments with the actual or constructive knowledge that plaintiff would use them in court, and because attorney did not engage in extensive, undisclosed participation that permitted plaintiff to falsely appear as being without professional assistance, attorney had not violated any rules.

Streit v. Covington & Crowe, 82 Cal.App. 4th 441 (2000)
In a lawsuit, plaintiff’s counsel of record requested that another firm make a "special appearance" at a summary judgment motion, appearing on behalf of counsel of record. Plaintiff filed a legal malpractice suit after a summary judgment was entered against her, arguing that the special appearance created an attorney-client relationship. The appellate court found that an attorney making a special appearance represents the client’s interests and has a professional attorney-client relationship with the client. Further, the voluntary appearance created a limited representation status and not a true "special appearance."

Court Rules

California Rule of Professional Conduct 1-650 governs the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

California Family and Juvenile Rule 5.70 allows a lawyer to draft documents in family law proceedings without disclosing the assistance, as long as the attorney is not making an appearance in the case.

California Family and Juvenile Rule 5.71, allows an attorney to be relieved as counsel by filing an Application to Be Relieved as Counsel Upon Completion of Limited Scope Representation, and outlines the procedure to withdraw both with no objection and with objection from the client.

FL-950, provides a court approved Notice of Limited Scope Representation for family law matters.

California Civil Rule 3.35, defines limited scope representation and application of rules in civil cases.

California Civil Rule 3.36 governs limited scope representation and includes:

  • Rule 3.36(a) allowing a parting and attorney to provide notice of their agreement by serving and filing a Notice of Limited Scope Representation;

  • Rule 3.36(b) requiring papers in the case to be served on both the attorney provinding the limited scope representation and the client, until there is a substitution of attorney or an order to be relieved as attorney is filed and served;

  • Rule 3.36(c) outlining the procedure to be relieved as counsel on completion of representation, when the attorney has acted appeared before the court as attorney of record and the client has not signed a Substitution of Attorney-Civil form;

  • Rule 3.36(d) requiring an application to be relieved as attorney;

  • Rule 3.36(e) requiring an application to be relieved as attorney to be filed with the court and served on all parties in the case, and also requiring the client to be served with a blank Objection to Application to Be Relieved as Attorney on Completion of Limited Scope Representation form;

  • Rule 3.36(f) outlining the procedure to be relieved as counsel when there is no objection;

  • Rule 3.36(g) outlining the procedure to be relieved when there is an obejction, requiring a hearing to be schedule no later than 25 days from the date the objection is filed, and requiring the clerk to send notice of the hearing to the parties and attorney; and

  • Rule 3.36(h) requiring the attorney to serve a copy of the signed Application to Be Relieved as Attorney on Completion of Limited Scope Representation form on the client and all parties and attorneys who have appeared in the case, when no objection is filed.

California Civil Rule 3.37 allows a lawyer to draft documents in civil proceedings without disclosing the assistance, as long as the attorney is not making an appearance in the case.

MC-950  provides a court approved Notice of Limited Scope Representation for civil matters.

California Rule of Professional Conduct 1-650 governs the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

California Rule of Court 10.960 governs the operation of court self-help centers.

Ethics Opinions

Los Angeles Cnty Bar Ass'n Prof. Resp. and Ethics Comm. Ethics Op. 483 (1995)
An attorney may limit the attorney's services by agreement with a pro per litigant to consultation on procedures and preparation of pleadings to be filed by the client pro per. A litigant may be either self-represented or represented by counsel, but not both at once, unless approved by the court. In order for attorney to specially appear on behalf of the litigant before the court for a limited purpose, the attorney should comply with all applicable court rules and procedures of the particular tribunal.

Los Angeles Cnty Bar Ass'n Prof. Resp. and Ethics Comm. Ethics Op. 502 (1999)
Attorneys may limit scope of representation of a litigation client to consultation, preparation of pleadings to be filed by client, and participation in negotiations, as long as client consents to the limitation in advance. Attorney must still tell the client about reasonably apparent legal problems even if they fall outside the scope of representation.

Self-Service Centers

California Courts Self-Help Center includes forms and instructions, Q&A, links, glossary and other aids.

I-Can Legal Models uses document assembly technology to enable visitors to complete forms by answering online questions. Provided by the Legal Aid Society of Orange County (CA). Available in English, Spanish and Vietnam languages.

The Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento Self-Help Resources Web Site provides information and forms for family law matters.

The Superior Court Family Law Facilitator Web Site provides information.

The Superior Court of California, County of Ventura, Legal Self-Help Web Site provides information and forms.

 

Colorado


Articles

Kathryn Dahlke, Online Resources Provide Pro Se Guidance and Reveal Pro Bono Opportunities, Colorado Lawyer (July 2009).

Adam J. Espinosa, Ethical Considerations When Providing Unbundled Legal Services, The Colorado Lawyer (September 2011).

Melody Kay Fuller, Unbundling Family Law Practice Creates Pro Bono Opportunities, The Colorado Lawyer, Vol. 27 at 29 (Sept. 1998).

John L. Kane, Jr., Debunking Unbundling, The Colorado Lawyer, Vol. 29, No. 2, at 15 (February 2000). CBA members only

Marcus J. Lock, Increasing Access to Justice: Expanding the Role of Nonlawyers in the Delivery of Legal Services to Low-Income Coloradoans, 72 Univ. Colorado L Rev 459 (Spring 2001).

Books and Reports

Report of the Committee on Pro Se Parties and Civil Justice Reform, Final Report of the Governor's Task Force on Civil Justice Reform, Colorado, (1990).

Cases

Johnson v. Board of County Comm'rs, 868 F.Supp. 1226 (D. Colo. 1994)
Former sheriff department workers bring sexual harassment suit against county sheriff in his individual and official capacities. Attorney representing sheriff enters limited appearance on behalf of his official capacity. Court finds that attorney cannot enter limited appearance on behalf of sheriff's official capacity. Attorney representing sheriff must act for the entire person, including individual and official capacities. Entering such limited appearance is not competent and zealous representation as required by ethical rules as it leaves officer undefended on individual capacity claims. Court further finds that ghostwriting of documents for pro se litigants may subject lawyers to contempt of court. Ghostwriting gives litigants unfair advantage in that pro se pleadings are construed liberally and pro se litigants are granted greater latitude in hearings and trials. Ghostwriting also results in evasion of obligations imposed on attorneys by statute, code, and rule, and involves lawyers in litigants' misrepresentation of pro se status in violation of ethical rules.

Court Rules

Colorado Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2 clarifies that a lawyer may ethically provide limited services.

Colorado Rule of Professional Conduct 4.2 creates a presumption that a party receiving limited services is unrepresented for purposes of communication.

Colorado Rule of Professional Conduct 4.3 creates a presumption that a party receiving limited services is unrepresented for purposes of communication.

Colorado Rule of Professional Conduct 6.5 governs the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Colorado Rule of Civil Procedure 121 explicilty permits limited appearances, as long as the attorney files and serves a notice of limited appearance with the court and all other parties prior to or simultaneous with the proceeding(s) for which the attorney appears.  It allows an appearance to terminate without leave of court as long as the attorney files a notice of completion of limited apearance, and finds that service on the attorney is only valid in connection with the specific proceedings(s) for which the attorney appears.

Colorado Rule of County Court 311(b) requires attorneys to include their name, address, telephone and registration number on prepared documents, but clarifies that doing so does not create an entry of appearance or authorize service on the attorney. It allows the attorney to rely upon the self-represented party’s representation of the facts.

Colorado Rule of County Court 11(b) requires attorneys include their name, address, telephone and registration number on prepared document, but clarifies that doing so does not create an entry of appearance or authorize service on the attorney. It allows the attorney to rely upon the self-represented party’s representation of the facts. 

Colorado Appellate Rule 5  allows and clarifies the procedures for limited scope representation in civil appellate proceedings.

Ethics Opinions

Colorado Bar Ass'n Ethics Op. 101 (1998)
Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct, and particularly Rule 1.2, allow unbundled legal services in both litigation and non-litigation matters. A lawyer who provides limited representation must nonetheless make a sufficient "inquiry into and analysis of the factual and legal elements of the problem" to provide the competent representation required by Rule 1.1.

Self-Service Centers

Colorado Judicial Branch Self-Help Center includes forms that can be completed online and printed. Site includes a self-help survey.

 

Connecticut


Articles

Christian Nolan,Website Changes to Help Pro Se Litigants, Connecticut Law Tribune (July 14, 2010).

Marie Grady and Thomas B. Scheffey, Providing Legal Help on a la Carte Basis, The Connecticut Law Tribune (July 2011).

Books and Reports

Final Report of Committee on Pro Se Litigation, Connecticut Bar Association (April 2002).

Public Service and Trust Commission Strategic Plan: Phase One Implementation Report, Public Service and Trust Commission, State of Connecticut Judicial Branch (2009).

Cases

In re Fengling Liu, 2nd U.S.Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 09-90006 (2011)
The Committee on Attorney Admission and Grievances recommended an attorney who provided undisclosed ghostwriting services for a pro se litigant receive a public reprimand.  While the Court ultimately found the attorney had committed misconduct related to other issues, it found that the attorney’s ghostwriting did not constitute sanctionable misconduct.  Since no rule or precedent governs attorney ghostwriting, the Court found that the attorney did not have an obligation to disclose participation.


Court Rules

Connecticut Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) permits limited scope representation if the limitation is reasonable under the circumstances and the client gives informed consent.

Connecticut Rule of Professional Conduct 6.5 governs the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Connecticut Rule of Professional Conduct 1.5(b) governs requirements for communicating fees and expenses for lawyers who provide limited scope services to a client.

Connecticut Rule of Professional Conduct 1.16 governs declining or terminating representation and provides commentary on withdrawing after filing a limited appearance.

Connecticut Rule of Professional Conduct 4.2 and 4.3 govern communicating with an otherwise unrepresented party for whom a limited appearance has been filed.

Ethics Opinions

Connecticut Informal Op. 90-18 (1990)
Legal aid agencies, in lieu of representation, may offer a class on pro se divorce to individuals seeking simple uncontested divorce and, for more complicated matters, provided clients are fully advised of the risks of proceeding pro se.

Self-Service Centers

State of Connecticut Judicial Branch self help site provides detailed information to the public.

 

Delaware


Books and Reports

Delaware’s Judicial Guidelines for Civil Hearings Involving Self-Represented Litigants, Delaware Supreme Court (2011).

Court Rules

Delaware Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) and 6.5 govern limited scope representation and the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Delaware Family Court Rules of Civil Procedure addressing limited scope representation include:

  • Rule 5(b)(2)(A) expressly permitting limited appearances with a written notice of appearance that specifically states the matters in which the attorney will represent the party and requiring copies of all notices given to the client also be given to the attorney; and
  • Rule 5(b)(2)(B) limiting the representation to only those matters identified in the notice of appearance and terminating the representation when the time for appeal has elapsed.


Ethics Opinions

Delaware State Bar Ass'n Comm. On Prof. Ethics Op. 1994-2
A legal services organization may properly limit its involvement in matters to advice and document preparation, but must disclose any significant assistance it provides to an otherwise pro se litigant. If it prepares pleadings or other documents, or provides advice or assistance on an ongoing basis, it should disclose the extent of its involvement.

Delaware State Bar Ass’n Op – 2006-1
A lawyer may be required to perform beyond the term of a limited scope representation agreement if the Court requested, or the Client’s circumstance warranted such action. In most circumstances, an agreement to withdraw from representation would not violate any ethics requirement, as long as the lawyer provides adequate advice to Client concerning the scope of representation. In family court, the Court’s permission may be needed to withdraw from simple divorce petitions in certain circumstances.

Self-Service Centers

Family Court of Delaware site provides information and divorce packets for self-help litigants.

 

District of Columbia


Articles

Kathryn Alfisi, Access to Justice: Helping Litigants Help Themselves, Washington Lawyer (January 2010).

Robert J. Spagnoletti, Small Income Equals Little Access, Washington Lawyer, Vol. 23, No.4 (December 2008).

Court Rules

District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) and 6.5 govern limited scope representation and the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Ethics Opinions

D.C. Bar Op. 330 (2005)
Unbundling of legal services is permissible under D.C. Rule 1.2 (c), provided the client is fully informed of the limits on the scope of the representation and these limits do not prevent the provision of competent service. If a party is proceeding pro se, opposing counsel should treat that party as unrepresented unless and until that counsel receives reasonable notice of representation from the party or her lawyer.

Self-Service Centers

The District of Columbia Courts Representing Yourself website includes information and links to forms and resources.

 

Florida


Articles

Elizabeth McCulloch, Let Me Show You How: Pro Se Divorce Courses and Client Power, 48 Florida L Rev 481 (1996).

Books and Reports

A National Conference on Pro Se Litigation – Florida Team Report, Office of the State Courts Administrator, Florida Supreme Court (Jan. 2000).

Office of the State Court Administrator Report to the Florida Legislature on Family Court Self-Help Programs Mar. 1, 1999).

Report of the Unbundled Legal Services Monitoring Committee, Florida Bar Association (March 2005).

Report of the Unbundled Legal Services Special Committee II, Florida Bar Association (Jul. 26, 2002).

Court Rules

Florida Rule of Professional Conduct 4-1.2(c) explicitly permits limited scope representation with written consent.

Comment to Florida Rule of Professional Conduct 4-1.2 indicates that a lawyer is not required to sign pleadings prepared for pro se litigants; the lawyer must instead include, on each pleading, the statement “Prepared with the Assistance of Counsel.” It also expressly permits limited appearances in family law proceedings

Florida Rule of Professional Conduct 4-4.2(b) establishes the presumption that a self-represented party is unrepresented unless notified to the contrary in writing.

Florida Rule of Professional Conduct 4-4.3(b) establishes the presumption that a self-represented party is unrepresented unless notified to the contrary in writing.

Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure governing limited scope representation and self-help centers include:

  • Rule 12.040(a) expressly permitting limited appearances with a filed notice, signed by the party;
  • Rule 12.040(b)-(c) allowing an attorney who has entered a limited appearance to terminate without leave of court, so long as the attorney files a notice of completion;
  • Rule 12.040(d) requiring pleadings filed by pro se litigants, and prepared with the assistance of an attorney, to contain a certification that the party received assistance from an attorney;
  • Rule 12.040(e) requiring an attorney who has filed a limited appearance to include specific language on pleadings filed with the court;
  • Rule 12.040(f) governing service in conjunction with limited appearances, and requiring that all pleadings or other documents and all notices of hearings be served upon both the attorney and the party.  When the attorney receives a notice of a hearing that is outside the scope of the representation, it instructs the attorney to notify the court and opposing party that the attorney will not attend proceeding or hearing; and
  • Rule 12.750, governing the operation of self-help programs within family courts.


Ethics Opinions

Florida State Bar Ass'n Op. 79-7 (Reconsideration 2000)
Any pleadings or other papers prepared by an attorney and filed with the court on behalf of a pro se litigant must clearly indicate that the litigant was aided by an attorney. Specifically, such filings should state, "Prepared with Assistance of Counsel."

Self-Service Centers

The Florida State Courts website includes a Self-Help Center with information and contacts.

The Palm Beach County Self Service Center offers online resources, including video, and offers appointment with licensed attorneys – for a nominal fee – at all branch courthouse locations.

The Pinellas County Self Help Center offers online resources, including videos, and offers appointments with licensed attorneys – for a nominal fee - at three different locations in Pinellas County.

Georgia


Articles

Len Horton, Supreme Court’s Legal Needs Study: Changing Georgia’s Civil Justice System, Georgia Bar Journal, Vol. 14, No. 1 at 56 (August 2008).

Books and Reports

Civil Legal Needs of Low and Moderate Income Households in Georgia: A Report Drawn from the 2007/2008 Georgia Legal Needs Study, Committee on Civil Justice – Supreme Court of Georgia Equal Justice Commission (June 2009).

Report and Recommendations, Pro Se Litigation Committee, Judicial Council of (Dec. 10, 1998)

Court Rules

Georgia Code of Professional Conduct Rule 1.2(c) governs limited scope representation.

Self-Service Centers

The Cobb County Law Library Self-Help Center includes downloadable forms and links to other resources.

The Fulton County Family Division website offers forms, articles, tip, faqs and other information.

Judicial Branch of Georgia Self Help Resources offers forms, information, video clips and links to self help resources.

 

Hawaii


Court Rules

Hawaii Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) governs limited scope representation.

Hawaii Rule of Professional Conduct 6.5 governs the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Comment [4] to Hawaii Revised Code of Judicial Conduct Rule 2.2  clarifies that a judge may make reasonable accommodations to assure that pro se litigants have the opportunity to have their matters fairly heard.

Self-Service Centers

Hawai'i State Judiciary Self-Help website includes forms, instruction, tips, and contacts.

 

Idaho


Court Rules

Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) and 6.5 govern limited scope representation and the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Idaho Rule of Civil Procedure 11(b)(5) permits pro bono limited appearances as long as the attorney files and serves a notice of limited appearances prior to or simultaneous with the proceeding; the notice must specifiy all matters that are to be undertaken on behalf of the party. The attorney may withdraw, without the necessity of leave of court, by filing a notice of completion of limited appearance.

Idaho Court Administrative Rule 53 creates a statement of policy to ensure access to the courts by all persons, and governs the operation of court assistance services.

Self-Service Centers

The Court Assistance Offices Project site includes forms, instructions, an attorney roster, and contact information for 22 court assistance offices.

 

Illinois


Articles

Timothy Eaton and David Holtermann, Limited Scope Representation is Here, Chicago Bar Record (April 2010).

Helen W. Gunnarsson, Unbundling Explained, Illinois Bar Journal (October 2010).

John T. Phipps, New Limited Scope Legal Representation Rule Gives Solo and Small Firm Practitioners Special Opportunity to Expand Practice with Unbundled Legal Services, ISBA General Practice, Solo & Small Firm, Vol. 38, No. 5 (March 2010).

Court Rules

Illinois Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2 (c) governs limited scope representation.

Illinois Rule of Professional Conduct 6.5 governs the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Illinois Supreme Court Rule 11 requires the service of all documents be made on both the party and the attorney while the limited representation is in effect.

Illinois Supreme Court Rule 13 governs limited scope representation and outlines the procedures for disclosing the nature of the representation, filing notice with the court, and withdrawing.

Illinois Supreme Court Rule 137 makes it clear that an attorney may assist a person who is representing him or herself in drafting or reviewing a pleading or other paper without making a general or limited scope appearance and without the attorney signing the pleading or other paper, as otherwise would be required.

Ethics Opinions

Illinois State Bar Ass’n Prof. Conduct Comm. Op. 94-01
A lawyer aids in the unauthorized practice of law, and may violate rules pertaining to confidentiality, conflicts, and the duty to communicate with and explain matters to a client, by limiting his role in a real estate transaction to the drafting of documents and delegating the gathering and dissemination of information, the resolution of problems arising from such the documents drafted, and other problems which may arise at the closing, to the real estate broker.

Illinois State Bar Ass’n Prof. Conduct Comm. Op. 04-03
A lawyer who mediated a divorce settlement between unrepresented husband and wife may not prepare a proposed judgment of dissolution of marriage, a marriage separation agreement and joint parenting agreement for husband and wife and allow husband and wife to file said documents as pro se litigants.

Illinois State Bar Ass'n Prof. Conduct Comm. Op. 849 (1983; Affirmed 1991)
An attorney may agree in advance with his or her client to limit the scope of the attorney's representation and draft pleadings without appearing or taking any part in any of the proceeding itself, provided that the client gives his or her fully informed consent to such limitation of employment and the attorney takes whatever steps may be necessary to avoid foreseeable prejudice to the client's rights.

Illinois State Bar Ass'n Prof. Conduct Comm. Op. 85-6 (1985; Affirmed 1991)
It is improper for a lawyer to advise a client; prepare pleadings, motions and petitions for client; file documents in court on client's behalf, but then seek a waiver from the client excusing the lawyer's presence in court in a bankruptcy representation.

Self-Service Centers

Illinois Legal Aid Online includes forms that can be completed online. The site also offers information, instructions and links to resources.

Southern Illinois University maintains the Self-Help Law Center, with forms, instruction and information about self-help classes.

 

Indiana


Articles

Donald R. Lundberg, Unbundled Legal Services or Limited Scope Representation, Res Gestae (June 2008).

Anthony Zapata, Legal Ghostwriting in Indiana: An Analysis, Res Gestae (September 2005).

Books and Reports

Assisting the Indiana Judicial System: Solutions to Self-Representation, Indiana Supreme Court Pro Se Advisory Committee (May 2002).

Creating a Self-Represented Litigant Clinic Handbook, Vanderburgh County Courts and the Volunteer Lawyer Program of Southwestern Indiana, Inc. (August 2011).

Court Rules

Indiana Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) governs limited scope representation.

Indiana Rule of Professional Conduct 6.5 governs the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Indiana Rule of Trial Procedure 3.1 permits an attorney to enter a limited appearance by filing a notice of temporary or limited representation that includes a description of the representation. It requires an attorney to file a notice of completion of representation to withdraw representation.

Self-Service Centers

The Indiana Judicial System Self-Service Legal Center offers information, videos, forms and links to resources.

 

Iowa


Books and Reports

Report of the Joint Iowa Judges Association and Iowa State Bar Association Task Force on Pro Se Litigation (May, 18, 2005).

Court Rules

Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct governing limited scope representation include:

  • Rule  32:1.2(c) , expressly permitting limited representation and outlining requirements for written consent;
  • Rule 32:4.2, establishing the presumption that a self-represented party is unrepresented unless notified to the contrary in writing;
  • Rule 32:6.5 , governing the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs; and
  • Rule 32:7.2, permitting an attorney to advertise that he/she provides limited representation.

Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure enabling unbundled services include:

  • RCP 1.404(3), expressly permitting limited appearances if the limitation is specifically stated in a notice of limited appearance  that is filed or served prior or simultaneously with the proceeding and the lawyer notifies the court before the beginning of a hearing;
  • RCP 1.404(4), allowing an attorney to withdraw from representation without leave of court by filing a notice of completion of limited appearance and serving it on all parties involved;
  • Rule 1.423(1), requiring every pleading or paper that is prepared with the drafting assistance of an attorney to state that fact before the signature line at the end of the document while also requiring the document to contain the attorney’s name, personal identification number – but not the attorney’s signature;
  • Rule 1.423(2) allowing the attorney providing drafting assistance to rely on the pro se party’s representation of the facts;
  • Rule 1.423(3) clarifying that providing identifying information on pleading or paper does not constitute an entry of appearance and does not authorize service on the attorney; and
  • RCP 1.442(2) indicating that service on an attorney who has made a limited appearance shall be considered valid only when the service is in connection with the specific proceedings for which the attorney appeared.


Ethics Opinions

Iowa State Bar Ass'n Op. 94-35 (1995)
Ghostwriting that represents pleadings to be pro se is a deception on the court when it is in fact a product of the lawyer "who is counseling the party and not accepting the inherent lawyer responsibilities to the court and to the law."

Iowa State Bar Ass'n Op. 96-31 (1997)
An attorney may draft a dissolution petition without charge for an indigent client who wishes to proceed pro se where the attorney indicates on the petition that he or she drafted it. As long as the court is informed of the lawyer who prepared the pleading, no ethical violation would occur and it would not be improper.

Self-Service Centers

The Iowa Judicial Branch Representing Yourself website includes forms, information and tips on preparing for court.

 

Kansas


Articles

Art Thompson, Report on Limited Representation Pilot Projects (April 2011).

Suzanne Valdez, Addressing the Pro Se Litigant Challenge in Kansas State Courts, The Journal of the Kansas Bar Association (April 2009).

Books and Reports

Kansas Justice Initiative Commission Draft Final Report, Recommendation 15: Unbundling Legal Services (Aug. 4, 1999).

Cases

Wesley v. Don Stein Buick, Inc., 987 F.Supp. 884 (D.Kan. 1997)
In suit brought by pro se plaintiff, defendants sought order requiring plaintiff to disclose whether she was an attorney or received the assistance of a lawyer. In expressing legal and ethical concerns regarding the ghostwriting of pleadings by attorneys, the court held the defendants were entitled to the order.

Court Rules

Kansas Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) governs limited scope representation.

Kansas Supreme Court Rules governing unbundled services include:

  • Rule 115A(a) establishing that an attorney may limit the scope of representation.
  • Rule 115A(b)(1) establishing that an attorney making a limited appearance must file a notice of limited entry of appearance that states the precise court proceeding and issues to which the limited appearance pertains.
  • Rule 115A(b)(2) clarifying that an attorney may file a notice of limited entry of appearance for one or more court proceedings in a case.
  • Rule 115A(b)(3) establishing the specific requirements for papers filed in a limited appearance.
  • Rule 115A(b)(4) indicating that service must be made on both the attorney and the party for matters within the scope of the limited appearance. Service is not required for matters outside the scope of the limited appearance.
  • Rule 115A(b)(6) specifying that the attorney must file a notice of withdrawal of limited entry of appearance for each court proceeding for which the attorney has filed a notice of limited appearance. The notice must state that the withdrawal is effective unless an objection is filed not later than 14 days after the notice is filed. 
  • Rule 115A(c) allowing an attorney to assist in the preparation of pleadings as long as "prepared with assistance of a Kansas licensed attorney" is inserted at the bottom of the paper. The attorney is not required to sign the paper.

U.S. District Court, District of Kansas Local Rules governing limited scope representation are:

  • Rule 83.5.8(a) establishing that a lawyer may limit the scope of representation in civil cases if the limitation is reasonable under the circumstances and the client gives informed consent in writing.
  • Rule 83.5.8(b) requiring compliance with Kansas Supreme Court Rule 115A with two exceptions: (1) that the lawyer use federal forms rather than the Kansas State Court forms; and (2) that Rule 115A(c) does not apply in the District of Kansas insetad requiring that any attorney preparing a pleading, motion or other paper for a specific case enter a limited appearance and sign the document.
  • Rule 83.5.8(c) allowing any attorney registered as active to practice before the Court to offer limited scope representation.

Ethics Opinions

Kansas Ethics Opinion No. 09-01
An attorney may offer limited scope representation.  Any lawyer who prepares a pleading for an otherwise pro se litigant must disclose such assistance, including the phrase “Prepared with Assistance of Counsel” on the pleading. The attorney need not provide identifying information such as name, bar number or address.

Kansas Ethics Op. 92-06 (1992)
A law firm's operation of a 900-number legal advice telephone line is not per se unethical. However, callers are deemed clients and thus entitled to all the protections afforded to them, including competency, confidentiality, and freedom from conflicts of interest. A firm maintaining such a 900 service would have a duty to screen callers to ensure that there were no conflicts of interest and to make sure that there were no competency issues, and could not charge callers for the time spent conducting such screening.

Self-Service Centers

The Kansas Legal Services website offers free interactive legal forms for a variety of legal issues.

 

Kentucky


Court Rules

Kentucky Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) governs limited scope representation.

Kentucky Rule of Professional Conduct 6.5 governs the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Ethics Opinions

Kentucky Bar Ass'n Op. E-343 (1991)
A lawyer may limit his or her undertaking and provide assistance in preparation of initial pleadings. However, the lawyer should not aid a litigant in the deception that the litigant is not represented when, in fact, the litigant is represented behind the scenes.

Self-Service Centers

The Kentucky Court of Justice Forms Library includes forms for name changes, small claims and several other civil matters.

The Legal Aid Network of Kentucky website offers interactive court forms for child support, simple divorces, landlord/tenant issues, living wills, name changes and small claims.

 

Louisiana


Books and Reports

Guidelines for Best Practices in Pro Se Assistance: Task Force on Pro Se Litigation, Louisiana Task Force on Pro Se Litigation of the Judicial Council (October 1, 2004).

Court Rules

Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) and 6.5 govern limited scope representation and the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Rule for Louisiana District Court 9.12 governs limited scope representation, including notice requirements and withdrawal procedures.

Maine


Cases

Ellis v. Maine, 448 F.2d 1325, 1328 (1st Cir. 1971)
Pro se petitioner who asserted complete ignorance of the law subsequently presented a brief that was manifestly written by a person with legal knowledge. Court held that a brief prepared in any substantial part by a member of the bar must be signed by that member.

Court Rules

Maine Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) explicitly allows limited scope representation and allows a lawyer to file a limited appearance if the client consents in writing.

Maine Rule of Professional Conduct Rule 1.16(c)  exempts an attorney from the standard withdrawal procedure and allows for automatic withdrawal of a lawyer upon completion of representation.

Maine Rule of Professional Conduct 4.2(b) permits opposing counsel to communicate with assisted pro se client unless unbundling attorney notifies opposing attorney of representation.

Maine Rule of Professional Conduct 6.5 governs the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Attachment A to Maine Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) includes a court-approved Limited Representation Agreement.

Maine Rules of Civil Procedure enabling unbundled legal services include:

  • Rule 5(b) indicating that service upon the attorney is not required when an attorney files a limited appearance;
  • Rule 11(b) explicitly permitting limited appearances and requiring an attorney signature on documents filed as part of a limited appearance; and
  • Rule 89(a) exempting attorneys who have filed limited appearances from the standard withdrawal procedure.

Ethics Opinions

Maine State Bar Ethics Opinion No. 89 (1988)
A lawyer is not required to sign a complaint or enter an appearance as counsel of record when representation is solely limited to preparation of the complaint.

Self-Service Centers

HelpMeLaw.org provides extensive information, forms and contacts on matters of personal legal services.

The Maine Judicial Branch Representing Yourself website includes information and links to other resources.

 

Maryland


Articles

Paula L. Hannaford-Agor, Helping the Pro Se Litigant: A Changing Landscape, Court Review, p. 8, (Winter 2003).

Michael Millemann, et al., Rethinking the Full-Service Representation Model: A Maryland Experiment, Clearinghouse Review (Mar./Apr. 1997).

Books and Reports

Clearing a Path to Justice: A Report of the Maryland Judiciary Work Group on Self-Representation in Maryland Courts (August 2007).

Evaluation of the Glen Burnie District Court Self-Help Center, Maryland Administrative Office of the Courts and the Institute for Government Service and Research (IGSR), University of Maryland (April 2012).

Interim Report and Recommendations, Maryland Access to Justice Commission (Fall 2009).

Court Rules

Maryland Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) and 6.5 govern limited scope representation and the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Self-Service Centers

The District Court of Maryland Self-Help Center offers limited legal assistance with landlord/tenant, small claims, debtor/creditor, replevin/detinue, and domestic violence/peace orders.  Services are offered at a walk-in location or via live chat and phone service.

The Maryland Judiciary website offers forms for both the circuit and district courts.

Maryland's Peoples Law Library provides extensive information, including on-line diagnostic tools to determine if an individual is suitable for self-representation. Information is presented in six languages in addition to English.

 

Massachusetts


Articles

Andrea R. Barter, Limited Assistance Representation Pilot Program Receives High Marks, Expands, Lawyers Journal (January 2008).

Edward M. Ginsburg, Commentary: Ways to Make Legal Fees More Affordable for the Public, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (March 9, 2009).

Christina P. O’Neill, Law a la Carte, Massachusetts Lawyers Journal, Vol. 17, No. 10 (July 2010).

Books and Reports

Addressing the Needs of Self-Represented Litigants in Our Courts: Final Report and Recommendations, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Steering Committee on Self-Represented Litigants (November 21, 2008).

Appendix - Addressing the Needs of Self-Represented Litigants in Our Court: Final Report and Recommendations, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Steering Committee on Self-Represented Litigants (November 21, 2008).

Pro Se Litigants: The Challenge of the Future, Massachusetts Probate and Family Court Department Pro Se Committee Report (Dec. 1999).

Report of the Boston Bar Association Task Force on Unrepresented Litigants (Aug. 1998).

Court Rules

Massachusetts Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) governs limited scope representation.

Massachusetts Rule of Professional Conduct 6.5 governs the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Supreme Judicial Court Order In Re: Limited Assistance Representation permits limited appearances with a filed Notice of Appearance; allows an attorney to withdraw by filing a Notice of Withdrawal of Limited Appearance; requires service on both attorney and client for matters within the scope of the limited appearance; and allows an attorney to assist in preparing a pleading, motion or other document as long as the phrase “ Prepared with the Assistance of Counsel” is included on the document.

Ethics Opinions

Massachusetts Bar Ass'n Committee on Professional Ethics, Op. 98-1 (1998)
An attorney may provide limited background advice and counseling to pro se litigants. However, providing more extensive services, such as drafting pleadings, i.e., ghostwriting, would usually be misleading to the court and other parties and therefore would be prohibited.

Self-Service Centers

The Massachusetts Court System Self-Help Center provides information of use of the courts.

Massachusetts Legal Help provides legal information and links to resources. Information is available in four languages in addition to English.

 

Michigan


Articles

Bradley A. Vauter, Unbundling: Filling the Gap, Michigan Bar Journal, Vol. 79, at 1688 (2000).

Charles R. Toy, Justice for Whom?, Michigan Bar Journal (May 2010).

Court Rules

Michigan Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2(b) governs limited scope representation.

Michigan Rule of Professional Conduct 6.6 governs the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Ethics Opinions

State Bar of Michigan Op. RI-348 (2010)
After consultation with the client, a lawyer may ethically limit the scope of representation in the context of Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings.  The lawyer must provide competent representation to the client in light of the proposed limitations and the proposed limitations may not violate other law.

State Bar of Michigan Op. RI-347 (2010)
An attorney may assist a pro se litigant by giving advice or preparing documents as long as the attorney complies with the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct.  An attorney who assists a pro se litigant is not required to appear in any proceeding and is not required to disclose the assistance to the court or opposing counsel.

State Bar of Michigan Op. RI-301 (1997)
When no confidential information has been divulged and the participant of a pro se self-help clinic has signed an agreement where the legal services agency disavows legal representation, no client-lawyer relationship is established. The legal services agency that provides the clinic is not disqualified from representing a party to litigation when the litigation has been filed by a participant in the clinic.

Self-Service Centers

The Michigan Online Legal Help Center includes information and links to self help resources.

The Michigan Courts Self Help Center provides forms, instructions and information.

 

Minnesota


Articles

John Del Vecchio, Sharing the Experience, Bench & Bar of Minnesota (September 2010).

Michelle Lore, Unbundling Legal Services Assists Clients in a Tough Economy, Advise Minnesota Attorneys, Minnesota Lawyer (April 2010).

Andrea Nordick, Leveling the Playing Field for Pro Se Litigants, Hennepin Lawyer (December 2009).

Kevin Slator, A Look at Limited Scope Legal Assistance, Minnesota Lawyer (December 1, 2008).

Books and Reports

Minnesota Family Law Limited Scope Representation Risk Management Materials, Minnesota State Bar Pro Se Implementation Committee (Revised 2009).

Pro Se Implementation Committee Annual Report, Minnesota State Bar Association (2001-2002).

Report of the Minnesota Conference on Chief Justices Committee on the Treatment of Litigants and Pro Se Litigation (Apr. 1996).

Recommendations and Report, Minnesota State Bar Association Pro Se Implementation Committee, (Jan. 2002).

Report of the Statewide Law Library/Self-Help Center Advisory Workgroup, Minnesota State Court Administrator’s Office (January 17, 2007).

Court Rules

Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) and 6.5 govern limited scope representation and the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Minnesota General Rule of Practice for the District Courts 110 governs the operation of self-help programs.

Self-Service Centers

The Minnesota Judicial Branch Self Help Center provides information, videos and tutorials. The site also includes forms that can be completed online and offers resources available in several languages including Spanish, Homng and Somali.

 

Mississippi


Court Rules

Mississippi Rules of Professional Conduct governing limited scope representation include:

  • Rule 1.2(c) expressly permitting limited scope representation.
  • Comment to Rule 1.2(c) encouraging lawyers to offer limited scope representation; indicating that lawyers may provide counseling, advice, draft letters or pleadings, with or without appearing as counsel of record; and, in litigation, permitting lawyers to attend hearings on discrete matters or specific issues.
  • Rule 6.5 governing the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Ethics Opinions

Mississippi State Bar Op. 176 (1990)
An attorney may participate in a counseling service sponsored by a Chamber of Commerce in which business owners receive free legal counseling on a limited basis. However, the attorney should treat those he or she gives advice to through the service as clients and comply with all applicable rules of ethics.

 

Missouri


Articles

Kathleen Bird, A Look at Unbundling of Legal Services, Journal of the Missouri Bar (January-February 2007).

Sara Rittman, Limited Scope Representation a/k/a Unbundled Legal Services, Missouri Supreme Court Legal Ethics Counsel (September 29, 2008).

Books and Reports

Analysis of Survey of Missouri Circuit Clerks Regarding Pro Se/Pro Bono Services, Missouri Supreme Court Committee on Access to Family Courts (September 30, 2008).

Missouri Supreme Court Joint Commission to Review Pro Se Litigation: Report to the Supreme Court of Missouri and the Missouri Bar (September 2003).

Pro Se Litigation Interim Feasibility Committee Report, Supreme Court of Missouri and Missouri Bar Association (September 2004).

Report on the Special Committee on Limited Scope Representation, Supreme Court of Missouri and Missouri Bar Association (July 20, 2007).

Court Rules

Missouri Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2 expressly permits limited representation with written consent and governs communication between opposing counsel and limited representation client.

Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct 1.16 (c) requires a lawyer to file a notice of termination of limited appearance to withdraw from representation.

Missouri Rule of Professional Conduct 6.5 governs the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Missouri Rule of Civil Procedure 43.01(b) requires service on otherwise self-represented person and not on limited appearance attorney unless notified in writing to do otherwise.

Missouri Rule of Civil Procedure 55.03 governing unbundling includes:

  • Rule 55.03(a) permitting a lawyer to draft pleadings or motions for self represented litigants without signing the documents;
  • Rule 55.03(b) explicitly allowing limited appearances with a written entry of appearance and allowing an attorney to withdraw, when the matter is completed, by filing a “Termination of Limited Appearance;” and
  • Rule 55.03(c) permitting a lawyer who assists with drafting to rely on the self-represented party’s representation of facts.

Missouri Rule of Civil Procedure 88.09 requires unrepresented parties to complete a litigant awareness program and to use court approved forms.


Ethics Opinions

Advisory Committee of the Supreme Court of Missouri Formal Op. 124 (2008)
It is ethically permissible for Missouri attorneys to engage in collaborative law practice.  The attorney must inform the client how the process works and must obtain the client’s written consent.

Missouri Bar Ass'n Advisory Op. 940161
It is impermissible for a lawyer to draft responsive pleadings to an unrepresented opposing party in a divorce. However, a lawyer may draft an entry of appearance if the lawyer includes a letter indicated that he or she represents the opposing party and that the unrepresented party should obtain counsel.

Missouri Bar Ass'n Advisory Op. 940049
It is impermissible for a lawyer to prepare an answer to an unrepresented opposing party in a divorce or marital separation.

Self-Service Centers

The Legal Services of Missouri Public Law Library offers information and links to resources.

The Representing Yourself in Missouri Courts website includes forms, information and links to resources on matters relating to family law.

 

Montana


Cases

Ostrovsky v. Monroe (In re Ellingson), 230 B.R. 426 (Bankr.D.Mont. 1999)
Paralegal who helped a business draft and file bankruptcy papers was found to be engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. Court notes that if an attorney acted in the same manner as paralegal, that person would be guilty of "ghost writing," which is described as the act of undisclosed attorney who assists a self-represented litigant by drafting his or her pleadings as part of "unbundled" or limited legal services. Court also notes that ghostwriting violates court rules, particularly Fed.R.Civ.P. 11, as well as ABA Standing Committee Opinion 1414 in Ethics and Professional Responsibility.

Court Rules

Montana Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) explicitly permits limited scope representation and outlines requirements for obtaining informed consent.

Montana Rule of Professional Conduct 4.2 establishes the presumption that a self-represented party is unrepresented unless notified to the contrary in writing.

Montana Rule of Professional Conduct 4.3 establishes the presumption that a self-represented party is unrepresented unless notified to the contrary in writing.

Montana Rule of Professional Conduct 6.5 governs the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Montana Rules of Civil Procedure enabling limited scope representation include:

  • Rule 4.2(a) expressly permitting an attorney to provide limited scope representation to a person involved in a court proceeding;
  • Rule 4.2(b) clarifying that providing limited scope representation does not constitute an entry of appearance and does not authorize or require service on the attorney;
  • Rule 4.2(c) permitting limited appearances as long as a notice of limited appearance is filed and served prior to or simultaneous with the actual appearance and indicating that service on an attorney who has made a limited appearance shall be considered valid only when the service is in connection with the specific proceedings for which the attorney appeared;
  • Rule 4.3(a) permitting limited appearances as long as a notice of limited appearance that specifically states the limitation is filed and served prior to or simultaneous with the actual appearance;
  • Rule 4.3(b) allowing an attorney to withdraw, without leave of court, by filing a notice of completion of limited appearance; and
  • Rule 11 permitting an attorney to draft a document without signing it and allowing the attorney who assists with drafting to rely on the self-represented party's representation of facts.


Ethics Opinions

Montana State Bar Ass'n Advisory Op. 900409 (1990)
It is unethical for an attorney to sell "do-it-yourself" divorce kits. Kits lead clients to believe that they need no further consultation with a lawyer and present a very real possibility that client will suffer harm as a result of failure of the kit to meet particular needs.

Self-Service Centers

The State Law Library of Montana offers forms, information and links to other resources.

 

Nebraska


Articles

Dennis Carlson, Amendments to Rules Facilitate Unbundling of Legal Services, The Nebraska Lawyer (November/December 2008).

Mary Kay Hansen & George D. Lyford, Limited Scope Representation, a Handy Tool for DIY Litigants, The Nebraska Lawyer (November/December 2010).

Books and Reports

Report of the Nebraska Supreme Court Committee on Pro Se Litigation (Nov. 22, 2002).

Court Rules

Nebraska Rules of Professional Conduct enabling unbundled services, include:

  • Rule 501.2, governing limited scope representation includes:

    • 501.2(b) expressly permitting limited scope representation;

    • 501.2(c) allowing an attorney to prepare court filings for pro se litigants so long as the filings include “Prepared By” with the name, business address and bar number of the attorney. It clarifies that such disclosure does not create an entry of appearance while also requiring the pro se litigant to sign the filing;

    • 501.2(d) allowing an attorney to enter a limited appearance if the client consents in writing; and

    • 501.2(e) establishing a procedure for withdrawal that requires the attorney to file a “Certificate of Completion of Limited Representation.”

  • Rule 504.2[10] allowing opposing counsel to communicate with client on matters outside scope of limited representation; and

  • Rule 506.5 governing the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Nebraska Court Rules of Pleading in Civil Cases governing limited appearance and withdrawal include:

  • Rule 6-1109 (h) allowing lawyers to enter a "Limited Appearance" as long as the client consents in writing, the scope of the representation is clearly defined, and a copy is provided to the client and opposing counsel or opposing party;
  • Rule 6-1109(i) permitting a lawyer to withraw upon completion of the limited representation as long as the attorney files a "Certificate of Completion of Limited Appearance" with the court and provides copies to the client and opposing counsel or opposing party. Court approval is not required and, once filed, the lawyer no longer has an obligation to represent the client; and
  • Rule 6-1111(b) permitting attorneys who do not appear as attorney of record to prepare pleadings, briefs and other documents to be filed with the court as long as the filings include the "Prepared By" along with identifying information, and clarifying that doing so does not create an appearance by the lawyer.

Ethics Opinions

Nebraska State Bar Ass'n Ethics Op. 94-2
Non-lawyers may not, through a 900 number telephone service, provide legal advice to the public. Attorneys encouraging such an enterprise would be in violation of the rule that prohibits a lawyer from aiding a non-lawyer in the practice of law.

Self-Service Centers

The Nebraska Judicial Branch Self Help Center includes forms, instructions, information and links to resources.

 

Nevada


Books and Reports

Simplifying the Maze: A Fresh Look at Nevada’s Court System, Nevada Supreme Court Judicial Assessment Commission (October 2000).

Court Rules

Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) and 6.5 govern limited scope representation and the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Rules of Practice of the Eighth Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada governing unbundling include:

  • Rule 5.28(a) requiring an attorney who offers limited scope representation to include that limitation on the first paragraph of the first paper or pleading filed on behalf of the client and to notify the court at the beginning of a hearing when a limited appearance is made; and
  • Rule 5.28(b) permitting an attorney to withdraw from representation by filing a “Notice of Withdrawal of Attorney,” with a copy of the limited services retainer agreement between the attorney and client, and serving it on the client and all other parties or their attorneys.

Ethics Opinions

State Bar of Nevada Formal Ethics Opinion No. 34 (2006, Revised 2009)
A lawyer who provides substantial assistance to a self-represented litigant must disclose such assistance to the court. The lawyer’s identity must be disclosed by signing all papers filed with the court for which the lawyer gave substantial assistance to the pro se litigant, by drafting or otherwise. In non-litigation settings, any attorney that provides substantial assistance to a pro se litigant must disclose such assistance, in writing, to the opposing party.

Self-Service Centers

Clark County Family Law Self-Help Center provides instructions in English and Spanish, forms, and information about self-help classes.

The Nevada Judiciary Self Help/Pro Se website offers forms and external resource links.

 

New Hampshire


Articles

Unbundled Services — Assisting the Pro Se Litigant, New Hampshire Bar Association Ethics Committee (May 12, 1999).

Books and Reports

Challenge to Justice: A Report on Self-Represented Litigants in the New Hampshire Courts, New Hampshire Supreme Court Task Force on Self-Representation (Jan. 2004).

Commission on the Status of the Legal Profession: Report and Recommendations to the New Hampshire Supreme Court (February 2007).

Court Rules

New Hampshire Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2 governs limited representation and provides a sample consent form.

New Hampshire Rule of Professional Conduct 4.2 creates presumption that limited representation client is unrepresented for purposes of communication, unless notified otherwise in writing.

New Hampshire Rule of Professional Conduct 6.5 governs the responsibility to determine conflicts in one time consultations with clients through non-profit and court annexed legal programs.

New Hampshire Rules of Civil Procedure enabling unbundled services include:

  • Rule 3 requiring that pleadings and communication be furnished to both client and limited representation attorney until withdrawal of limited appearance;

  • Rule 17(c) explicitly permitting limited appearances in non-criminal cases so long as the precise scope of the limited representation is stated on a filed notice;

  • Rule 17(f) allowing automatic termination of representation when an attorney files a “withdrawal of limited appearance” and gives notice of the completed representation to all parties; and

  • Rule 17(g) permitting an attorney to prepare documents without signing them so long as the statement “This pleading was prepared with the assistance of a New Hampshire attorney” appears on the document.

Self-Service Centers

The New Hampshire Judicial Branch Self Help Center provides forms, information, tips on court preparation and links to resources.

 

New Jersey


Cases

Lynne v. Laufer, No. A-2079-01T2, (N.J. Super. App. Div. Apr. 8, 2003)
Attorney, with matrimonial client's consent after consultation, limited the scope of his representation to a review of the terms of a mediated agreement without going outside its four corners. Court holds that it is not a breach of the standard of care for an attorney under a signed precisely drafted consent agreement to limit the scope of representation to not perform such services in the course of representing a matrimonial client that he or she might otherwise perform absent such a consent.

Court Rules

New Jersey Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2 (c) governs limited scope of representation.

New Jersey Rule of Professional Conduct 6.5 governs the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Ethics Opinions

New Jersey Sup. Ct. Comm. On Attorney Advertising Op. 17 (1994)
Is it not unethical per se for a lawyer to operate a 900-number pay-per-call service giving legal advice. However, the lawyer must comply with the ethics rules and should proceed with great caution.

New Jersey Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics Op. 713 (2008)
Limited Representation is fully permissible as long it follows the requirements of RPC 1.2 ( c ). Disclosure of limited assistance is not required if part of a non-profit program designed to provide legal assistance to people of limited means, or if it represents an effort by a lawyer to aid someone who is otherwise unable to afford an attorney. Disclosure of limited assistance is required in other situations such as when a used as a tactic to gain advantage in litigation or when a lawyer effectively controls the final form and wording of pleadings and the conduct of litigation.

Self-Service Centers

NewJerseyCourtsOnline.com provides a variety of packets with information and forms.

 

New Mexico


Books & Reports

Report of the Self Represented Working Group to the Supreme Court of New Mexico, New Mexico Commission on Access to Justice (May 2007).

Court Rules

New Mexico Rules of Professional Conduct governing unbundling include:

  • Rule 16-102(C) permitting limited representation with consent;
  • Rule 16-303(E) requiring lawyer to disclose scope of representation to court; and
  • Rule 16-605 governing the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

New Mexico Rules of Civil Procedure governing limited appearances include:

  • Rule 1-089(A)(1) permitting limited appearances in district court as long as the attorney files a Limited Entry of Appearance that identifies the nature of the limitation; 
  • Rule 1-089(C) allowing an attorney who has completed the purpose of the representation to withdraw without court order by filing and serving a notice of withdrawal or substitution of counsel;
  • Rule 2-107(C) permitting limited appearance in magistrate courts as long as the attorney files a limited entry of appearance that identifies the nature of the limitation and notes the limitation in the signature block of any paper filed with the court;
  • Rule 2-108(A) allowing an attorney to withdraw without consent from magistrate courts, as long as the representation is completed;
  • Rule 3-107(C) permitting limited appearances in metropolitan courts as long as the attorney files a limited entry of appearance that identifies the nature of the limitation and notes the limitation in the signature block of any paper filed with the court; and
  • Rule 3-108(A) allowing an attorney to withdraw without consent from metropolitan courts, as long as the representation is completed.

New Mexico Supreme Court General Rule 23-113 governs communication between self-represented litigants and court staff, and grants immunity to court staff for any information provided to self-represented litigants.


Ethics Opinions

New Mexico Advisory Op. 1987-6 (1987)
A lawyer may participate in a pro bono clinic that provides educational programs to individuals interested in pro se representation, provided the programs do not give specific legal advice to any individual.

New Mexico Ethics Advisory Op. 1987-12 (1987)
Where an opposing client is proceeding pro se but has given the attorney no indication that he is relying on the attorney to protect his rights, the attorney has no obligation to call to the court's attention a possible mistake that favors the attorney's client. The attorney is entitled to act as though the opposing client were represented by counsel and accordingly require the opposing client to protect his own rights.

Self-Service Centers

New Mexico State Judiciary Self Representation Web Site includes family law forms and instruction in both English and Spanish.

The New Mexico Supreme Court website offers forms for the District, Magistrate, Metropolitan, Municipal and Probate Courts.

 

New York


Articles

Fern Fisher-Brandveen and Rochelle Klempner,Unbundled Legal Services: Untying the Bundle in New York State, 29 Fordham Urban L J 1107 (Feb. 2002). (Abstract)

Richard S. Granat, eLawyering: Providing More Efficient Legal Services With Today’s Technology, New York State Bar Journal (September 2008).

Rochelle Klempner, Unbundled Legal Services in Litigated Matters in New York State: A Proposal to Test the Efficacy Through Law School Clinics, Working Paper, Partners in Justice Colloquium (May 2005).

Books and Reports

A Report on Programs and Services for Self-Represented Litigants in the New York State Courts, Office of the Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Justice Initiatives (September 2001).

Best Practices for the Administration of Court-Sponsored Volunteer Lawyer For The Day Programs, New York State Courts Access to Justice Program (January 2010). 

Best Practices for Court Help Centers and Programs to Assist Unrepresented Litigants, New York State Courts Access to Justice Program (December 2009).

Expanding Access to Justice in New York State, Office of the Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Justice Initiatives (March 2009).

Facilitating Access Training Program Reference Manual: Volume 1, New York State Courts Access to Justice Program (January 2010).

Facilitating Access Training Program Reference Manual: Volume 2, New York State Courts Access to Justice Program (January 2010).

Report and Recommendations on "Unbundled" Legal Services, Commission on Providing Access to Legal Services for Middle Income Consumers, New York State Bar Association (Dec. 2002).

Self-Represented Litigants: Characteristics, Needs, Services, The Results of Two Surveys, Office of the Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Justice Initiatives (December 2005).

Volunteer Lawyer for a Day Project Report: A Test of Unbundling in the New York City Housing Court, Joint Report by Office of the Administrative Judge of the Civil Court of the City of New York, Office of the Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Justice Initiatives and the NYC Bar Association’s Committee on Legal Services (February 2008).

Cases

In re Fengling Liu, 2nd U.S.Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 09-90006 (2011)
The Committee on Attorney Admission and Grievances recommended an attorney who provided undisclosed ghostwriting services for a pro se litigant receive a public reprimand.  While the Court ultimately found the attorney had committed misconduct related to other issues, it found that the attorney’s ghostwriting did not constitute sanctionable misconduct.  Since no rule or precedent governs attorney ghostwriting, the Court found that the attorney did not have an obligation to disclose participation.

Court Rules

New York Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) and 6.5 govern limited scope representation and the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Local Rules of the United States District Court for Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, Civil Rule 7.2, requires counsel to provide pro se litigants with printed copies of decisions cited when unreported or reported only on computerized databases.

Ethics Opinions

Ass’n of the Bar of the City of New York Formal Op. 2009-2 (2009)
Ethics rules permit an attorney to make certain statements to a self-represented individual who is adverse to their own client. The attorney may identify general legal issues that a self-represented person should address and may also discuss undisputed statements or facts of law. In addition, an attorney may advise a self-represented individual to seek counsel and may also refer a self-represented litigant to seek assistance from a court-sponsored self-help program. The attorney may also clarify his or her role, and must volunteer such information if the self-represented person misunderstands the attorney’s role in the matter.

New York County Law Association Committee on Professional Ethics Op. 742 (2010)
It is ethically permissible for an attorney to prepare pleadings and other submissions for pro se litigants. Lawyers are not required to disclose such assistance, except in certain, limited situations.

New York State Bar Ass'n Op. 613 (1990)
A lawyer who does not appear as counsel of record for a pro se litigant may prepare responsive pleadings and demands for financial disclosure, provided the lawyer investigates the matter adequately.

Self-Service Centers

New York Court Help includes forms, information and videos in both English and Spanish.

 

North Carolina


Articles

Camille Stell, CYA Corner: Unbundled Service Does Not Mean Unnecessary Risks, The Advocate (June 2011).

Books and Reports

Caught in the Middle: 2003 Report and Recommendations of the North Carolina Bar Association Pro Se Task Force (Dec. 2003).

Cases

Melvin Finance, Inc. v. Artis, 157 N.C. App. 716, 2003 WL 21153426 (N.C.App.)
Defendant retained an attorney on a limited basis, following an action filed by the plaintiff to recover costs on a defaulted loan. Limited representation attorney agreed to file responsive pleadings and negotiate a settlement agreement, and filed a notice of limited appearance. While the defendant received notice of a scheduled hearing and forwarded it to his limited representation attorney, neither defendant nor attorney appeared at the hearing and, consequently, an arbitration award was entered for the plaintiff. Defendant filed a motion to set aside judgment, which was denied. On appeal, the defendant claimed the limited representation attorney’s failure to appear at the hearing amounted to excusable neglect and that the judgment should be set aside. The court found that since the defendant received notice of the hearing and had retained the attorney on a limited basis, that the limited representation attorney’s conduct did not constitute excusable neglect. The lower court decision was affirmed.

Burgess v. Vitola, 2008 WL 821539 (N.C.Super.)
In a legal dispute surfaced over an alleged invasion of personal property, the plaintiff resided in North Carolina and the defendant resided in California. The defendant filed papers with the assistance of a California attorney but, on record, represented herself. The plaintiff sought recourse, arguing that assistance from counsel amounted to the unauthorized practice of law since the attorney was not licensed in North Carolina. As the Rules of Professional Conduct do not require an attorney who has provided drafting assistance to make an appearance as counsel of record, the court found that it had no authority to sanction the California attorney. It did, however, require that the defendant file an affidavit that she intended to proceed pro se and not seek legal assistance unless the attorney is licensed to practice in North Carolina.

Court Rules

North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) and 6.5 govern limited scope representation and the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

North Carolina General Statute 50B-2(d) requires the clerk of superior court in each county to provide pro se litigants with all necessary forms.

Ethics Opinions

North Carolina State Bar Formal Op. 3 (2008)
A lawyer may assist a pro se litigant by drafting pleadings and giving advice without making an appearance in the proceeding and without disclosing or ensuring the disclosure of his assistance to the court unless required to do so by law or court order.

North Carolina State Bar RPC 114 (1991)
Legal services attorneys may provide legal advice and drafting assistance to pro se litigants without appearing as counsel of record. If court approved pleading forms exist, attorneys may make them available to individuals wishing to proceed pro se.

North Carolina State Bar Op. 6 (2002)
A lawyer may not represent one party in a divorce and prepare pleadings for the other (pro se) party to sign, regardless of the willingness of the parties.

North Carolina State Bar Formal Op.10 (2005)
Lawyers may provide services over the internet so long as: 1) the lawyer website includes a physical office address; 2) the lawyer provides competent representation, engaging in the same level of communication and taking precautions as does a lawyer in a law office; 3) the lawyer determines jurisdiction of client and runs comprehensive conflicts checks and; 4) the lawyer takes reasonable precautions to protect confidential information transmitted to and from the client. Lawyers providing services over the internet may offer unbundled client services if they obtain client consent, provide competent representation and follow RPC 1.2 (c).

Self-Service Centers

26th Judicial District Self-Help Center Web Site provides forms, referrals and information about instructional clinics.

The North Carolina Court System website offers a comprehensive list of forms, most available for download.

 

North Dakota


Court Rules

North Dakota Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) governs limited scope representation.

North Dakota Rule of Professional Conduct 6.5 governs the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

North Dakota Rule of Court 11.2 governs attorney withdrawal when an attorney has filed a notice of limited representation.

North Dakota Rule of Civil Procedure 5(b) establishes the requirements for service on an attorney providing limited scope representation.

North Dakota Rule of Civil Procedure 11(e) requires an attorney who provides limited scope representation to file a notice that states precisely the scope of the representation and also requires an attorney to file a notice of termination upon completion.

Self-Service Centers

The North Dakota Supreme Court website provides forms and instructions for self represented parties.

 

Ohio


Articles

Kathleen M. Sampson, Meeting the Pro Se Challenge: An Update, American Judicature Society, Vol. 84, at 326 (May/Jun. 2001).

Books and Reports

Report and Recommendations of the Supreme Court Task Force on Pro Se & Indigent Litigants , Supreme Court of Ohio (April 2006)

Cases

Future Lawn, Inc v. Steinberg, 2008 Ohio 4127
Attorney was hired by appellant to handle a legal malpractice claim. The attorney was referred by appellant’s general counsel, to act in a in a matter concerning the handling of an environmental report in a real estate transaction several years prior. A settlement was reached in the matter and around the same time, general counsel was replaced. Following a dispute regarding unpaid legal fees, appellants were sued by former general counsel. Appellants responded with a separate suit, alleging counsel had committed malpractice. They implicated the limited representation attorney, suggesting the attorney had an obligation to advise them of issues surrounding claims of general counsel’s malpractice. The court found that representation by attorney was expressly limited to the original malpractice claim, and that no requirement existed for client consultation before limited the scope of representation. The attorney had no duty to investigate actions of general counsel.

Ostevoll v. Ostevoll, 2000 WL 1611123 (S.D. Ohio)
Respondent argues that the Petition should be stricken pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 11 because, although allegedly filed pro se, petitioner clearly received substantial assistance from counsel in the preparation and filing of the Petition. Court finds that if a pleading is prepared in any substantial part by a member of the bar, it must be signed by that attorney to avoid misrepresentation.

Court Rules

Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) and 6.5 govern limited scope representation and the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Self-Service Centers

The Ohio Legal Services website includes information, videos, links to court forms and other resources.

 

Oklahoma


Articles

Judith Maute and Kade McClure, Making a Difference in Oklahoma, The Oklahoma Bar Journal, Vol. 80, No.1 at 64 (January 2009).

Court Rules

Oklahoma Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) governs limited scope representation.

Oklahoma Rule of Professional Conduct 6.5 governs the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Self-Service Centers

The Oklahoma State Courts Network website offers court forms.

 

Oregon


Articles

Amber Hollister, Unbundling Legal Services: Limited the Scope of Representation, Oregon State Bar Bulletin July 2011).

Beverly Michaelis,Unbundling, Part II: How to Reduce Malpractice Exposure while Meeting Client Needs, Oregon State Bar Bulletin, Vol. 59, p. 35 (1999).

Books and Reports

Oregon Family Law Legal Services Commission Report to the Oregon Legislative Assembly (Jan. 1999).

Self-Representation in Oregon’s Family Law Cases: Next Steps, SFLAC’s Self-Represented Legal Services Subcommittee, Oregon Judicial Department (September 2007).

Court Rules

Oregon Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2(b) and 6.5 govern limited scope representation and the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Oregon Uniform Trial Court Rule 2.010(7) requires a pro se litigant to file a Certificate of Document Preparation, disclosing whether he or she had paid assistance from a lawyer in selecting or completing a pleading.

Form 2.010.7 Certificate of Document Preparation provides a court approved form that is required to accompany any document not bearing the name and bar number of an attorney.

Ethics Opinions

Oregon State Bar Association Formal Opinion No. 2011-183
Limited scope representation is expressly allowed by Oregon RPC 1.2(b) and clarifies that an attorney may limit representation to certain actions or to certain issues. Communication is addressed and attorneys are encouraged to use written engagement letter to minimize risks associated with providing limited scope representation.

Self-Service Centers

 The Oregon Judicial Department Self-Help website includes information and forms.

The Oregon State Bar Do-It-Yourself Legal Topics website offers information on restraining order hearings, small claims court and summary dissolution.

 

Pennsylvania


Books & Reports

Recommendation of the Task Force on Meeting the Legal Needs of the Middle Income People, Pennsylvania Bar Association (June 2007).

Report and Recommendation of the Task Force on Self-Represented Litigation, Commission on Justice Initiatives in Pennsylvania (December 2006).

 

Cases

Jones v. Bresset, 2000 W: 3311607 (47 Pa. D. & C 4th 60)
Defendant was an attorney hired by plaintiff in the midst of plaintiff’s bankruptcy proceedings. The plaintiff had already obtained counsel of record, and hired defendant solely for the purpose of securing an accounting in the bankruptcy proceeding. The defendant alerted plaintiff of limited scope of his representation, advising plaintiff that problems may arise outside the scope of his representation. Plaintiff commenced a legal malpractice suit against his attorney of record stating negligence, and included the defendant in the claim. The court found that since the defendant distinctly limited the scope of his representation and urged the plaintiff to hire separate counsel for other matters, the defendant had no legal duty to investigate or advise plaintiff on existence of malpractice by attorney of record.

U.S. v. Eleven Vehicles, 966 F.Supp. 361 (E.D.Pa. 1997)
Court finds that ghostwriting by attorney for a pro se litigant implicates an attorney's duty of candor to the court, interferes with the court's ability to supervise the litigation, and misrepresents the litigant's right to more liberal construction as a pro se litigant.

Court Rules

Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) and 6.5 govern limited scope representation and the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Self-Service Centers

The Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas Court Self Help Center offers forms and instructions.

The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania website offers civil complaint and landlord/tenant forms, as well as various forms for Orphans Court.

 

Rhode Island


Court Rules

Rhode Island Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) and 6.5 govern limited scope representation and the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Self-Service Centers

The Judiciary of Rhode Island website offers court forms.

South Carolina


Court Rules

South Carolina Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) governs limited scope representation.

South Carolina Rule of Professional Conduct 6.5 governs the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Supreme Court of South Carolina Order 2012-08-24-01 approves Self-Represented Litigant Child Support Modification Packets for use in the Family Courts of South Carolina.

Ethics Opinions

South Carolina Bar Ethics Advisory Op. 90-18
A lawyer may draft and submit a responsive pleading and waiver of appearance on behalf of an opposing party in a divorce action while representing the interest of his or her own client when he or she determines that the preparation and submission of the pleadings does not constitute representation.

South Carolina Bar Ethics Advisory Op. 05-18  
An attorney may limit representation in a real estate closing to certain portions or phases of the transaction without violating the South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct, if the limitation is reasonable under the circumstances and the clients give informed consent. However, the arrangement presents elevated risks of ethical violations, and attorneys are advised to take additional precautions to avoid violating, in particular, Rules 5.5(a), 1.1, and 1.2(c), or in the alternative should avoid undertaking the representation.

Self-Service Centers

The South Carolina Judicial Department Self Help Resources website offers forms for various court types.

The South Carolina Bar Self-Help Resources website includes forms, instructions and information for self-represented simple divorce proceedings.

 

South Dakota


Court Rules

South Dakota Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) governs limited scope representation.

South Dakota Rule of Professional Conduct 6.5 governs the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Self-Service Centers

The South Dakota Unified Judicial System website provides forms and information.

 

Tennessee


Articles

Carl A. Pierce, When Less Legal Service May Mean More Access to Justice: Limited Scope Representation for Self-Represented Litigants, Tennessee Bar Journal, Vol. 31, No. 2 (February 2005).

Elizabeth A. Sykes and Sue Allison, Help May Be on the Way for Self-Represented Litigants, Tennessee Bar Journal, Vol. 31, No. 2 (February 2005).

Cases

Discover Bank v. McCullough, 2008 W: 248975 (Tenn. Ct. App.)
In a dispute over a bank card balance, cardholders chose to represent themselves after card issuer filed suit. The self-represented litigants mailed a response to court but then failed to appear at the hearing, which prompted the court to grant a default judgment to the card issuer. During the appeals process, the self represented filed papers not known within the jurisdiction. When the case reached the appellate court, the Court found that it did not have subject matter jurisdiction because the self represented litigants failed to file a court recognized notice. The court found that while it appreciated the difficulties encountered by self-represented litigants, it could not "abdicate its role as an impartial, neutral arbiter and become an advocate for the self-represented litigant."

Court Rules

Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) and 6.5 govern limited scope representation, encouraging written consent, and the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 5.02 governs the requirements in service and filing of pleadings and other papers in the limited scope representation context.

Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 11.01 requires that an attorney providing limited scope representation file notice with the court at the beginning of the representation and notice of completion upon satisfying the obligations of the representation.

Ethics Opinions

Bd. of Prof. Resp. of the Sup. Ct. of Tenn. Op. 93-F-130 (1993)
An attorney may represent a client solely for the purpose of reviewing and advising on a mediated agreement for divorce when no complaint has yet been filed or when the opposing party has filed for divorce.

Bd. of Prof. Resp. of the Sup. Ct. of Tenn. Op. 2005-F-151
Attorneys may offer limited representation through a pro se clinic if they obtain client’s consent, preferably in writing. Attorneys may draft proceedings for clients, if the attorney notifies the Court that counsel has assisted a pro se litigant. The phrase "Prepared with Assistance of Counsel" is recommended for inclusion on such pleadings in a prominent manner. Attorneys who draft proceedings need not appear and represent the client.

Bd. of Prof. Resp. of the Sup. Ct. of Tenn. Op. 2007-F-153
An attorney may prepare pleadings for a pro se litigant without disclosing the name of the attorney on the pleading in circumstances where doing so allows the pro se litigant to protect his or her claim or matter from being barred by a statute of limitation, administrative rule or other proscriptive rule where the assisting attorney will not provide further assistance. An attorney may not prepare pleadings and other legal documents to assist a pro se litigant in the conduct of his or her litigation where doing so creates the false impression that the litigant is without substantial legal assistance.

Self-Service Centers

The Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts website offers legal information and forms in English and Spanish.

The Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services Web Site provides legal information and links to resources.

 

Texas


Self-Service Centers

The State Bar of Texas website provides pamphlets, handbooks and videos.

 

Utah


Articles

Robert L. Jeffs, The Pro Se Quandary, Utah Bar Journal (November/December 2010)

Virginia Sudbury, Unbundled in Utah, Utah Bar Journal (November 2008).

Books and Reports

Committee on Resources for Self-Represented Parties Strategic Planning Initiative: Report to the Judicial Council, Utah Supreme Court (July 25, 2006).

Final Report: 2006 Survey of Self-Represented Parties in the Utah State Court, Utah Judicial Council Standing Committee on Resources for Self-Represented Parties (November 2006).

Report to the Utah State Bar Commission of the Commission Task Force on the Delivery of Legal Services (July 2003).

Court Rules

Utah Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2 (c) permits limited representation with consent.

Utah Rule of Professional Conduct 4.2 (b) creates the presumption that limited representation client is unrepresented for purposes of communication, unless notified otherwise in writing.

Utah Rule of Professional Conduct 4.3 (b) creates the presumption that limited representation client is unrepresented for purposes of communication, unless notified otherwise in writing.

Utah Rule of Professional Conduct 6.5 governs the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 5(b)(1) requires that papers relating to a matter within limited scope agreement be served upon attorney and party.

Utah Rules of Civil Procedure 74(b) allows an attorney who has entered a limited appearance, and has completed the representation, to withdraw from the case by filing and serving a notice of withdrawal.

Utah Rules of Civil Procedure 75 expressly permits limited appearances with a filed Notice of Limited Appearance, signed by the attorney and party, that specifically describes the purpose and scope of the appearance


Ethics Opinions

Utah State Bar Ethics Advisory Op. Comm. Op. 96-12 (1997)
Is not unethical for attorney to use a 900 number to give legal advice to paying clients. A disclaimer of the attorney-client relationship may be effective, but only if caller has no expectation that such relationship would be created by call. However, if legal advice is sought, if the advice is pertinent to the attorney's profession, and the attorney gives advice for which a fee is charged, the attorney-client relationship has been established and it may not be disclaimed by the attorney giving the advice.

Utah State Bar Ethics Advisory Op. Comm. Op. 02-10 (2002)
It is permissible for an attorney to review the contents of a divorce agreement resulting from mediation on behalf of one party and inform that party about the options and advisability of the agreement. However, it is inappropriate to for an attorney to limit his or her services to assisting in the drafting of pleading and failing to advise about the relevant law.

Utah State Bar Ethics Advisory Op. Comm. Op. 08-01 (2008)
A lawyer may provide legal assistance to litigants appearing before tribunals pro se and help them prepare written submissions without disclosing or ensuring the disclosure to others of the nature or extent of such assistance. Undertaking to provide limited legal help does not generally alter any other aspect of the attorney’s professional responsibilities to the client.

Self-Service Centers

The Utah State Courts How To Web Site provides information and incorporates Online Court Assistance Programs that use document assembly to determine eligibility and create the necessary paperwork for some legal needs.

 

Vermont


Articles

Mary C. Ashcroft, Unbundling Legal Services: Delivering What Your Client Wants at a Price She Can Afford, Vermont Bar Journal (Winter 2010).

Cases

In re Fengling Liu, 2nd U.S.Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 09-90006 (2011)
The Committee on Attorney Admission and Grievances recommended an attorney who provided undisclosed ghostwriting services for a pro se litigant receive a public reprimand.  While the Court ultimately found the attorney had committed misconduct related to other issues, it found that the attorney’s ghostwriting did not constitute sanctionable misconduct.  Since no rule or precedent governs attorney ghostwriting, the Court found that the attorney did not have an obligation to disclose participation.

Court Rules

Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) and 6.5 govern limited scope representation and the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Vermont Rule of Civil Procedure 79.1 addresses limited appearances and includes:

  • Rule 79.1.(1) explicitly allowing limited appearances;
  • Rule 79.1(2) requiring a written notice of limited appearance that states the purpose and scope of the appearance;
  • Rule 79.1(3) granting leave to withdraw as a matter of course when the purpose for which the appearance was entered has been accomplished; and
  • Rule 79.1(4) requiring service on both the party and the attorney after a limited appearance has been filed.

Vermont Rule of Family Proceedings 15(h) addresses limited appearances and includes:

  • Rule 15(h)(1) explicitly allowing limited appearances in family law matters;
  • Rule 15(h)(2) requiring a written notice of limited appearance that states the purpose and scope of the appearance;
  • Rule 15(h)(3) granting leave to withdraw as a matter of course when the purpose for which the appearance was entered has been accomplished; and
  • Rule 15(h)(4) requiring service on both the party and the attorney after a limited appearance has been filed. 


Self-Service Centers

The Vermont Judiciary Court Information website offers fillable court forms, information and links to other resources.

 

Virginia


Articles

Paula L. Hannaford-Agor, Helping the Pro Se Litigant: A Changing Landscape, Court Review, p. 8, (Winter 2003).

James M. McCauley, Current Ethical and Unauthorized Practice Issues Relating to Endeavors to Assist Pro Se Litigants, Virginia Lawyer, Vol. 51, p. 43 (December 2002).

Hon. Beverly W. Snukals and Glen H. Sturtevant, Jr., Pro Se Litigation: Best Practices form a Judge’s Perspective, 42 University of Richmond Law Review 2 (2007).

Books and Reports

Commission on Virginia Courts in the 21st Century: To Benefit All, To Exclude None, Supreme Court of Virginia (January 2007).

Self Represented Litigants in the Virginia Court System, Supreme Court of Virginia Pro Se Litigation Planning Committee, Enhancing Access to Justice Report (Sept. 2002).

Cases

Laremont-Lopez v. Southeastern Tidewater Opportunity Ctr., 968 F.Supp. 1075 (E.D. Va. 1997)
Over a period of time, pro se plaintiffs submitted pleadings that had been written by attorneys pursuant to discrete-task representation contracts. The attorneys did not sign the pleadings, and in most cases did not appear as counsel of record. When ordered to show cause by the court as to why they should not be held in contempt of court, attorneys argued that the professional relationships created with the litigants ended once they had drafted the pleadings. Court held that there was insufficient evidence to show that the attorneys knowingly misled the court or intentionally violated ethical or procedural rules and declined to impose sanctions. However, court stated that the practice of ghostwriting pleadings without acknowledging authorship and without asking court approval to withdraw from representation was inconsistent with Fed. R. Civ. P. 11 and Rule 83.1(G) of the Local Rules for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Court stated that allowing attorneys to ghostwrite pleadings for pro se plaintiffs abused additional leeway given to pro se filings.

Walker v. American Ass’n of Prof. Eye Care Spec., 268 Va. 117, 597 S.E.2d 47 (2004)
Plaintiff engaged an attorney to investigate whether she had a potential case for negligent medical treatment, and placed money in an escrow fund with him. A few months later, the attorney informed plaintiff that he would not represent her in the case. A different law office drafted a motion for judgment. The plaintiff, acting pro se, signed the pleading herself and no attorney signed it. The original attorney arranged for it to be delivered to the clerk of the circuit court with a covering letter asking for the paper to be filed on behalf of the plaintiff. A check for the filing fee, drawn on the attorney's trust account, accompanied the letter and pleading. The attorney used money from the escrow account to retain an expert witness, and then transferred the remaining funds to other counsel who eventually represented the plaintiff. Defendants filed a motion to strike and a motion to quash, and after a hearing the trial court granted the defense motions, finding that the attorney was plaintiff's counsel of record and that the pleading had been improperly signed by the party pro se in violation of Rules 1:4 and 1A:4. The action was dismissed with prejudice, and plaintiff appealed.   The Supreme Court reversed, finding that attorney was not plaintiff’s counsel of record and that the pleading had no been improperly signed by the pro se party.

Sharp v. Sharp, 2006 WL 3088067 (Va.Cir.Court)
Complainant and respondent were co-tenants of real estate property. The respondent appeared pro se during a hearing before the commissioner in chancery, but then hired an attorney who appeared in a limited capacity at several other hearings. On appeal, the court sought to determine whether or not the attorney could appear in a limited capacity and whether the attorney’s appearance qualified him as official "attorney of record." The court found that it was not bound by agreements made between client and attorney and that a court may "require more of an attorney than mere compliance with the ethical constraints of the Rules of Professional Conduct." The court found that the attorney could make a motion to withdraw once he completed the tasks agreed upon, but that the court had ultimate discretion in granting the withdrawal.

Court Rules

Virginia Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2(b) governs limited scope representation

Virginia Rule of Professional Conduct 6.5 governs the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Ethics Opinions

Standing Comm. On Legal Ethics, Virginia State Bar Ass'n Legal Ethics Op. 1127 (1988)
It is ethically permissible for a lawyer to advise and assist a pro se litigant and provide: general legal advice, recommendations for a course of action to follow discovery, legal research, and redrafting of documents prepared by the pro se litigant. A lawyer may prepare discovery requests, pleadings or briefs for signature by the pro se litigant. However, failure to disclose that the attorney provided active or substantial assistance may constitute a misrepresentation to the court.

Standing Comm. On Legal Ethics, Virginia State Bar Ass'n Legal Ethics Op. 1592 (1994)
An attorney representing an uninsured motorist carrier creates attorney-client relationship with uninsured driver when he gives driver legal advice. If there are no conflicts of interest between carrier and driver, then it is not unethical for attorney to advise driver even if carrier may later file a subrogation claim against driver, but attorney could not state that he was disinterested in driver. Carrier could eliminate any conflict by waiving its subrogation rights. If attorney continues to advise driver, it would be improper for him to allow driver to represent to a court that he is appearing pro se.

Standing Comm. On Legal Ethics, Virginia State Bar Ass'n Legal Ethics Op. 1761 (2002)
Legal aid staff may provide legal forms to pro se litigants, so long as no assistance is provided in the completion of those forms.

Self-Service Centers

The Virginia Judicial System website includes forms for civil legal matters in the General District, Circuit and Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts.

 

Washington


Articles

Barrie Althoff, Ethical Considerations for Lawyers and Judges when Dealing with Unrepresented Persons, Washington State Bar News (Jan. 2000).

Barrie Althoff, Ethics and the Law: Ethical Considerations for Lawyers and Judges When Dealing with Unrepresented Persons, Washington State Bar News (Jan. 2000).

Barrie Althoff, Limiting the Scope of Your Representation: Questions of Cost, Candor, and Disclosure, Washington State Bar News (Jul. 1997).

Barrie Althoff, Limiting the Scope of Your Representation: When Your Client Wants, or Can Afford, Only Part of You, Washington State Bar News (Jun. 1997).

Mark Johnson, Professionally Permissible Piecework, Washington State Bar News (February 2008).

Kim Prochnau, Slicing the Onion: Rules of Professional Conduct and Court Rules Make It Easier for Private and Non-Profit Legal Practitioners to Provide "Unbundled" Legal Services, Washington State Bar News (Apr. 2003).

Court Rules

Washington Admission to Practice Rule 28 allows non-lawyers with certain levels of training to provide technical help on simple legal matters.

Washington Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) permits limited scope of representation with consent.

Washington Rule of Professional 1.5(f)(2) permits an attorney to charge a flat fee for specified legal services and to place that fee into the lawyer’s operating account, if there is a written fee agreement containing certain disclosure requirements.

Washington Rule of Professional Conduct 4.2 creates the presumption that a person is unrepresented unless opposing party is notified otherwise.

Washington Rule of Civil Procedure 4.3 creates the presumption that a person is unrepresented unless opposing party is notified otherwise.

Washington Rule of Professional Conduct 6.5 governs the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Washington Civil Rule 4.2 allows an attorney to provide limited scope representation to a person involved in a court proceeding; clarifies that providing limited scope representation does not create an entry of appearance and does not require service on the attorney; and explicitly permits limited appearances as long as the attorney files a notice of limited appearance prior to or simultaneous with the actual court appearance.

Washington Civil Rule of Limited Jurisdiction 4.2 allows an attorney to provide limited scope representation to a person involved in a court proceeding; clarifies that providing limited scope representation does not create an entry of appearance and does not require service on the attorney; and explicitly permits limited appearances as long as the attorney files a notice of limited appearance prior to or simultaneous with the actual court appearance.

Washington Civil Rule 11 permits a lawyer who assists with drafting to rely on the self-represented party's representation of facts.

Washington Civil Rule of Limited Jurisdiction 11 permits a lawyer who assists with drafting to rely on the self-represented party's representation of facts.

Washington Civil Rule 70.1 expressly allows limited appearances in litigation as long as the attorney files a notice of limited appearance; requires service on the attorney only in connection with the specific proceedings for which the attorney appears; and allows the attorney’s role to terminate with a notice of completion of limited appearance.

Washington Civil Rule of Limited Jurisdiction 70.1 expressly allows limited appearances in litigation as long as the attorney files a notice of limited appearance; requires service on the attorney only in connection with the specific proceedings for which the attorney appears; and allows the attorney’s role to terminate with a notice of completion of limited appearance.


Ethics Opinions

Washington State Bar Ass’n Informal Ethics Op. 2169 (2008)
An attorney cannot provide limited scope representation as part of an arrangement with a real estate brokerage. Such an arrangement, where the attorney receives a salary from the brokerage, violates rules that prohibit the splitting of fees and partnership with a non-lawyer in any part of a business to provide legal services. The limited scope representation itself, however, does not violate any rule.

Washington State Bar Ass'n Informal Ethics Op. 1763 (1997)
Unbundled legal services is defined as a party engaging an attorney to take limited measures, such as helping prepare initial pleadings and perform child support calculations, without either the lawyer or the client being obligated to the other for the duration of the proceedings.

Self-Service Centers

The King County Superior Court website offers information, court forms, and videos.

Washington Courts Forms Web Site includes forms and detailed instructions, with topical search capability.

Washington LawHelp includes information and self-help packets in English, Russian and Spanish.

 

West Virginia


Cases

Armor v. Lantz, 207 W. VA 672, 535 S.E.2d 737 (2000)
Appellants brought legal malpractice suit against local attorney retained by Ohio lawyer in products liability case. Appellants claimed that West Virginia lawyer who acted as local counsel was liable for malpractice of Ohio lawyer. Court found that, while it was difficult to clearly define the role of local counsel according to West Virginia rules, the local attorney had effectively entered a limited representation agreement and was therefore not responsible for all aspects of the case or for the Ohio lawyer’s conduct.

Court Rules

West Virginia Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) governs limited scope representation.

Ethics Opinions

West Virginia Lawyer Disciplinary Board L.E.O 2010-01
Ghostwriting is permissible under the West Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct as long as a lawyer discloses his or her identity when preparing documents and pleadings filed before a tribunal.  A lawyer must follow procedures to ensure that the client is fully aware of and consents to the specific limitations and possible ramifications.

Self-Service Centers

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals website offers forms, information and links to resources.

 

Wisconsin


Articles

Diane S. Diel, Why Don’t They Hire Lawyers?, Wisconsin Lawyer, Vol. 81, No. 9 (September 2008).

Joe Forward, Lawyer a la Carte: Expanded Use of Limited-Scope Representation on the Horizon, State Bar of Wisconsin InsideTrack (August 17, 2011).

Judith G. McMullen, Pro Se Trends and Divorce in Wisconsin, Wisconsin Lawyer, Vol. 83, No. 6 (June 2010).

Judith G. McMullen and Debra Oswald, Why Do We Need a Lawyer?: An Empirical Study of Divorce Cases, Journal of Law & Family Studies, Vol. 12,  at 57 (2010).

Dianne Molvig, Unbundling Legal Services, The Wisconsin Lawyer, Vol. 70, No. 9, at 10 (Sept. 1997).

Timothy J. Pierce, Ethics 2000: Unbundling Legal Services, Wisconsin Lawyer (February 2005).

Deborah G. Spanic, Virtual Law Office: An Option for Lawyers in Transition, New Lawyers, Wisconsin Inside Track (March 3, 2010).

Carlton D. Stansbury, All Family Law Parties Need Access to Justice, Wisconsin Journal of Family Law (Summer 2009).

Carlton D. Stansbury, As Family Law Changes, So Should the Judiciary, Wisconsin Journal of Family Law (Spring 2009).

Thomas J. Watson, 10 Tips to Unbundle Legal Services, Wisconsin Lawyer, Vol. 83, No.3 (March 2010).

Books and Reports

Phase I: Feasibility Study and Recommendations, Planning and Policy Advisory Committee of the Wisconsin Supreme Court (August 2011).

Pro Se Litigation: Meeting the Challenge of Self-Represented Litigants in Wisconsin, Pro Se Working Group, Wisconsin Supreme Court (December 2000).

Report of the Commission on the Delivery of Legal Services, State Bar of Wisconsin (May 1996).

Court Rules

Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules of Professional Responsibility governing limited scope representation include:

  • 1.2(c) allowing limited scope representation if the limitation is reasonable under the circumstances and the client gives informed consent. The client's informed consent must be in writing, except for as set forth in 1.2(c)(1);
  • 1.2(c)(1) providing exceptions to the rule that a client's informed consent be in writing;
  • 1.2(c)(2) providing presumptions if the client gives informed consent in writing signed by the client;
  • 1.2 (cm) governing ghostwriting, requiring that filings include "this document was prepared with the assistance of a lawyer," and providing that such actions do not constitute an appearance;
  • 3.1 (am) governing meritorious claims and contentions and permitting a lawyer who assists with drafting to rely on the self-represented party’s representation of facts;
  • 4.2(b) creating a presumption that a party receiving limited services is unrepresented for purposes of communication absent notification to the contrary;
  • 4.3(b) creating a presumption that a party receiving limited services is unrepresented for purposes of dealing with unrepresented person absent notification to the contrary; and
  • 6.5 governing the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs.

Wisconsin Statutes governing limited scope representation include:

  • 802.045(1) permitting limited scope representation in a court action;
  • 802.045(2) governing notice requirements for limited appearances;
  • 802.045(3) governing service requirements;
  • 802.045(4) governing termination of a limited appearance;
  • 802.045(5) governing forms;
  • 802.05 (2m) governing ghostwriting, providing that the attorney is not required to sign the document, requiring that it must contain the statement "this document was prepared with the assistance of a lawyer" (802.05(2m) for briefs), and permitting a lawyer who assists with drafting to rely on the self-represented party’s representation of facts;
  • 809.80 (2)(a) and 801.14 (2m) governing service and filing of pleadings and other papers; and
  • 800.035 (1m) permitting  limited scope representation to a person involved in a municipal court action.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Rule of Judicial Administration 70.41 provides guidelines for court staff when assisting the public.

Milwaukee County Family Division Rule 5.6  governs unbundling and includes:

  • Rule 5.6(C) expressly permits limited appearances as long as the attorney files a notice of appearance that states the proceedings at which the attorney will be present or function for which the attorney will be responsible.
  • Rule 5.6(D) allows an attorney to withdraw, after making a limited appearance, by submitting a proposed order for withdrawal and serving a copy on the client and all parties.

Ethics Opinions

State Bar of Wisconsin Formal Opinion E-09-03
In every representation, an attorney must inform the client of the scope of the representation, the basis of the rate or fee, and any expenses for which the client will be responsible. The communication, whether required in writing or permitted verbally, must provide a clear description of the services and the matter for which the attorney has been retained. When oral communication concerning the scope of representation is permitted, communicating any limitations on the scope of representation in writing protects both the attorney and client.

Self-Service Centers

The Wisconsin Court System Self Help Center provides forms in both English and Spanish. The site also offers information, tips and links to resources.

 

Wyoming


Articles

John M. Burman, Ethically Speaking: Dealing with an Opposing Party Who is Proceeding Pro Se, Wyoming Lawyer, Vol. 31, No. 3 (June 2008).

Rebecca A. Lewis, Providing Unbundled Legal Services, Wyoming Lawyer (February 2010).

Hon. Scott W. Skavdahl, Access to Justice: A Judge’s Perspective, Wyoming Lawyer, Vol. 32, No. 1 (February 2009).

Court Rules

Wyoming Rules of Professional Conduct governing limited scope representation include:

  • Rule 1.1 [4] addressing competence in limited scope representation;
  • Rule 1.2(c) explicitly permitting limited scope representation and outlining the requirements for written consent;
  • Rule 6.5 governing the responsibility to determine conflicts in non-profit and court-annexed limited service programs;

  • Rule 1.2[7] permitting limited appearances with written consent, requiring documents prepared by attorneys to include a statement indicating that the document was prepared with the assistance of counsel, along with the name and address of the attorney, and clarifying that disclosure of assistance does not constitute an entry of appearance; and
  • Appendix to Rule 1.2 providing a court approved notice and consent to limited scope representation notice.

The Uniform Rule of the District Court of the State of Wyoming 102 governs limited appearances and includes:

  • Rule 102(a)(1)(B) clarifying that an attorney who has assisted in the preparation of a pleading and whose name appears on the pleading shall not be deemed to have entered an appearance in the matter;
  • Rule 102(a)(1)(C) allowing an attorney to enter a written entry of appearance that is limited, by its terms, to a particular proceeding or matter; and
  • Rule 102(a)(2)(C) allowing an attorney who has entered a limited entry of appearance to withdraw when the attorney has fulfilled the duties of the limited entry of appearance.


Self-Service Centers

The Wyoming Judicial Branch Self Help Center offers forms, instructions and information.

 

Canada


Articles

Janice Tibbetts,Top Judge Adds Voice to Debate Over Legal Fees, The Province (February 8, 2009).

Books and Reports

Evaluation of Law Help Ontario as a Model for Assisting Litigants in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, The Resource for Great Programs, Inc (November 2009).

Listening to Ontarians: Report of the Ontario Civil Legal Needs Project, Ontario Civil Legal Needs Project Steering Committee (May 2010).

Updated: 4/8/2014

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