Adding by Subtracting: How Limited Scope Agreements for Dispute Resolution Representation Can Increase Access to Attorney Services

By: Kristin M. Blankley. Published by: Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution. Published in October 2013.

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Alternative dispute resolution and limited scope representation can help self-represented litigants. For example, attorneys and clients can agree they will only be represented for the purposes of settlement and not litigation. Using settlement counsel, Blankley writes, can be helpful for self-represented litigants in family law, tenant-landlord law, personal injury law, consumer law, and bankruptcy law.

Highlights include:

  • “First and foremost, providing limited scope representation for individuals would undoubtedly give access to representation for a larger segment of the population. No one doubts that financial barriers constitute one of the biggest barriers for the pro se population. For many, these financial barriers keep the parties from going to court (or taking advantage of other procedures) at all-after all, “avoidance” is probably the most common method of dispute resolution in the entire world.” (p. 686)
  • “Ultimately, the unbundling of legal services and the creation of a limited scope representation arrangement would give otherwise pro se participants increased access to justice.” (p. 687)
  • “Using limited scope representation for dispute resolution services gives participants a unique opportunity to express voice in the resolution of their disputes. Unlike traditional limited scope representation services in the area of document drafting and appearance making, limited scope representation services in the area of dispute settling can involve significant and meaningful client involvement-especially when the clients are involved in settlement procedures, such as negotiation and mediation.” (p. 688)

Categories: Alternative Dispute Resolution, Unbundling, Legal Aid Practitioners, National, General/Unspecified Clients, Self-Represented Litigants

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