Unbundling Resource Center

Communication Between Counsel & Parties

Articles

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

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

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

William Hornsby, Unbundling and the Lawyer's Duty of Care, American Bar Association Family Advocate (Fall 2012)

David L. Hudson Jr., If you think a seeming pro se litigant has a lawyer, ask to confirm, ABA ethics opinion says (ABA Journal, November 30, 2015)

 

Stephanie Kimbro, Unbundling: What Is It? American Bar Association Family Advocate (June 2012)

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).

Nicole Cudiamat Minnis, Improving Access to Justice – “Unbundling” Legal Services in Illinois, The National Law Review (Agust 2013)

Kevin M.P. O'Grady, Making the Limited-Scope Relationship Work, American Bar Association Family Advocate (Fall 2012)

Books & Reports


An Analysis of Rules that Enable Lawyers to Serve Self-Represented Litigants, A White Paper, ABA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services (August 2014)

Handbook on Limited Scope Legal Assistance , ABA Section of Litigation (2003).

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

Reinventing the Practice of Law: Emerging Models to Enhance Affordable Legal Services, Luz Herrera, Editor, ABA Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services (2014)

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

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

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

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

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

Cases

Check back for cases related to communication between counsel and parties.

Court Rules

Alaska

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

Colorado

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.

Florida

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.

Iowa

Iowa Rule of Professional Conduct 32:4.2 establishes the presumption that, for purposes of communication, a self-represented party is unrepresented unless notified to the contrary in writing.

Maine

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.

Missouri

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

Montana

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.

Nebraska

Nebraska Rules of Professional Conduct 504.2[10] allows opposing counsel to communicate with client on matters outside scope of limited representation.

New Hampshire

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

Utah

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

Washington

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.

Ethics Opinions

Arizona

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.

District of Columbia

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.

California

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.

New York

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.

Oregon

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.