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American Bar Association supports limited-scope legal representations. Florida considering changing rules to expand unbundled services

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas. — The American Bar Association has explained the need for limited-scope legal representations in a simple way.

A story, published by the legal news website Florida Record, “Individuals, attorneys benefit from a la carte legal services, one Florida attorney says” , quotes an ABA analysis of limited-scope legal representations: “Even though the courts and the marketplace are providing substantial assistance to self-represented litigants, the scope of this assistance is limited. Many, if not most, litigants need more than the procedural assistance offered by these resources. They need to know more than which forms to use, how to docket their cases and what time to appear in court. They need assistance with decision-making and judgment. They need to know their options, possible outcomes and the strategies to pursue their objectives. In some cases, self-represented litigants need advocates for some portion of their matter. These services can only come from lawyers.”

The analysis, compiled by the association’s legal services delivery committee, responded directly to the recent proliferation of online legal assistance websites. While the committee noted such information can help people navigate some parts of the judicial system, members also contended information online only goes so far.

However, in some states, court rules may hinder such “unbundled” legal services. The story notes Florida’s rules encourage attorney-client partnerships to achieve the best possible judicial outcome.

“If, for example, a client’s objective is limited to securing general information about the law the client needs in order to handle a common and typically uncomplicated legal problem, the lawyer and client may agree that the lawyer’s services will be limited to a brief consultation. Such a limitation, however, would not be reasonable if the time allotted was not sufficient to yield advice upon which the client could rely,” the story notes.

The state bar association in Florida is considering changes to its rules to allow further limited-scope representations, according to the story.

Attorney Lisa G. Douglas of North Little Rock said limited-scope legal representations are gaining popularity but will require state courts and bar associations to recognize the need.

“Arkansas is a state in which a number of potential litigants simply don’t have the resources to proceed. This type of a la carte service makes economic sense for them,” she contended.

If you or someone you know has a potential cause of action but is unsure of how to proceed, contact the Law Office of Lisa G. Douglas: 2300 Main Street, North Little Rock, AR 72114; (501) 798-0004, 24 hours a day; or online,

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