Unbundling or limited scope retainers are touted as tools that can help consumers afford legal services they presently forgo. Future-thinking lawyers know they can expand their practices by accepting these limited engagements, but many worry judges won’t always respect those contractual limits. Some jurisdictions have taken steps to encourage and facilitate the broader availability of unbundled legal services, especially in family law. In this column we interview Jim Calloway, director of the Management Assistance Program at the Oklahoma State Bar, about the recent limited scope representation changes in Oklahoma.
First, Jim, to make sure everyone understands what we are talking about, can you tell us what limited scope representation is?
Limited scope representation, also called unbundled services or a limited scope retainer, means a lawyer providing part, but not all, of the services needed in a client’s legal matter by agreement between the lawyer and the client. At its very simplest, it might be a lawyer drafting documents, and the client having responsibility for filing and presenting them to a court. The lawyer devotes less time, and there is a cost savings for the client, who still gets some legal advice and help.
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