Limited Scope. (Almost) Boundless Opportunity

By Jessica Bednarz and Samira Nazem

Across the country, the civil justice system is undergoing a transformation. More and more litigants are appearing in court without lawyers, making up well over half of the civil litigants nationally and closer to 75 percent in some jurisdictions (tinyurl.com/ycjlkew5). Self-representation is not limited to the poorest users of the court system; growing numbers of working- and middle-class families are also going it alone as it becomes increasingly challenging to find affordable legal representation. This underserved middle market—those who make too much to qualify for legal aid and pro bono services and too little for market-rate attorneys—is fertile ground for unbundled, or limited-scope, legal services. These are the litigants who might need a little help—coaching or forms preparation—but are prepared to do some of the heavy lifting on their own.

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