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Limited Scope Representation

It can be fun to tell people, "Call my lawyer," but that can also get very expensive. When lawyers bill hourly with no limits to their representation, family law cases can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars and take years. But it doesn't have to be that way. Kansas Legal Services describes limited scope representation as follows:

Limited scope representation means that you and your attorney agree that you will do some of the tasks related to your case, and the attorney will do others.

For example, you may agree that you will gather the financial data while the attorney drafts the paperwork to be filed with the court. The attorney may coach you on how to prepare documents yourself or review documents you have drafted. The attorney may coach you on how to appear in court by yourself. They may handle only the most complex parts of your case and give you advice on how to handle the simpler parts. The attorney may prepare the evidence which you will present at court. The attorney can also appear at court for one part of your case (the most difficult or technical) while you represent yourself on other simpler or less critical parts. The attorney then bills you only for the parts of the case the attorney handled.

Family law cases are often well suited for limited representation. For example, if you know you will be waiting at the courthouse all morning for a few minutes of court time. In that case, it may not be the best use of your trial budget to pay an attorney to wait with you. You may instead want to spend the attorney’s time being coached on how to best represent yourself, and then appear by yourself in court. That way you aren’t incurring legal fees while you wait for your case to be called. This approach can save you thousands of dollars in a case and actually improve communication.

The Kansas Supreme Court has approved limited scope representation and has provided the following forms to assist the client and attorney in a limited scope attorney/client relationship. The following Kansas Judicial Counsel forms have been approved in the limited scope context: