Is Limited Scope Representation For You?

Jul 24 2016

By: John Drapp

Posted in: Litigation, Family & Divorce, Court


Section 3-8(b) of the Connecticut Practice Book now allows attorneys to file a “limited appearance” in civil and family matters, which in turn allows clients to engage an attorney for a limited purpose.  What does this mean for you?  It could mean significantly lower legal fees!

In the past, you either had an attorney, or you did not.  There was, for the most part, no “hybrid” representation.  This meant that if you wanted to hire an attorney to represent you, that attorney would represent you for the entirety of your matter.  While you were always free to discharge your attorney or hire a new attorney to replace your previous counsel, your choices were limited to being represented by an attorney, or representing yourself. 

Since the new court rules allow attorneys to enter limited appearances, you can now hire an attorney to handle as much, or as little, of your matter as you want.  For example, if you have a child custody matter pending in court and you feel confident that you and the other party will be able to resolve visitation issues with an agreement, you may not want to hire an attorney to handle that part of the case.  If, however, the issue of child support is more complicated because the two of you are self-employed and have seasonal variations in your respective incomes, then you may want to have an attorney handle that part of the case for you.  With a limited appearance, this is possible.  You would be representing yourself for the entire case, but you would be free to hire an attorney on a limited basis to handle only the child support aspect of the case. 

Another example is if you were handling a civil case on your own and the other party filed a motion for summary judgment.  You may not be sure how to properly respond to the motion for summary judgment, but at the same time you may not want to hire an attorney to handle the other parts of the case.  With the availability of limited appearances, you can hire an attorney for the limited purpose of responding to the motion for summary judgment.  After that task is completed, the attorney would be discharged from any further involvement in the case.  Of course, you would always be free to re-hire an attorney for another part of your case if you wanted to do so. 

The availability of limited appearances may result in decreased attorney’s fees if you choose to hire an attorney for a limited purpose.  Since the attorney would be doing less work in a limited representation situation, his or her fee for that work would likely be less than if the attorney was representing you in every aspect of your matter.  Limited representation may also allow easier budgeting for legal expenses and smaller up-front retainer amounts.  In short, the ability to engage an attorney on a limited basis allows for cost-effective access to an attorney when you need one. 

For more information about limited scope engagement, please call Attorney John Drapp. 

This information is subject to the terms of our disclaimer.  

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