Our citizens all deserve equal access to justice. Those with financial means can afford the best representation. There are many who can afford to pay something for a lawyer’s help but cannot afford full representation. Next Friday, August 18, OBA Practice Management Advisor Darla Jackson and I teach a three-hour program on Delivering Limited Scope Services Effectively and Safely. (Some refer to the service model as unbundled legal services.) Lawyers can attend this program in person at the Oklahoma Bar Center (registration) or by simultaneous webcast (registration). Early bird registration for these programs ends at midnight Friday, August 11.
What are limited scope services? This term refers to a lawyer agreeing with an appropriate client to provide less than full-service representation under existing Rule 1.2(c) of the Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct. In June 2017, the Oklahoma Supreme Court added a new rule, Rule 33, to the Rules for District Courts of Oklahoma. The rule provides that lawyers who prepare pleadings or other documents to be presented to or filed with the court must disclose their participation on the document, but may do so without entering appearance in the underlying matter.
But, as they say, the devil is in the details. While this rule change now provides an opportunity to help those who cannot afford full-service legal representation, this is intended to provide a viable and profitable business model for lawyers to use to help people. However, attorneys who deliver these services need to appreciate the ethical duties they must satisfy. Additionally, attorneys must recognize that some clients seeking limited scope representation may later have a complaint about the scope of the services provided.
This program will provide practical guidance and suggested sample forms relating to delivering limited scope services. It is offered for three hours of continuing legal education credit including one hour of ethics.