Limited Scope Representation Practice Resources

Limited Scope Representation Toolkit

Every year in Illinois, hundreds of thousands of people go to court without any legal help. The vast majority would rather have an attorney—they simply can’t find or can’t afford one. Many people in this group make too much to qualify for the limited legal aid and pro bono resources available, but too little to pay for traditional market rate legal services. Others may not realize that affordable legal services exist and are easier than ever to access, thanks to limited scope representation.

Limited scope representation, also called unbundling or a la carte legal services, is designed to give lawyers and their clients more flexibility. In a limited scope representation, the lawyer takes on some part of a case while the litigant handles the rest, allowing the lawyers to focus their expertise on discrete issues and tasks. This can drive down costs for consumers and give them more flexibility and control over their legal matters. It can also bring in new clients who may be unwilling or unable to pay for full representation but can afford something less.

The Illinois Supreme Court has adopted a series of rules to clarify the permissible and ethical uses of limited scope representation in Illinois trial courts. The rules are included below, in addition to many other tools and practical resources designed to help lawyers understand and incorporate limited scope representation into their practices.

Limited Scope Practice Resources

These resources (also included in the Limited Scope Toolkit) are designed to assist attorneys in understanding and using limited scope rules in an effective and ethical manner.

Limited Scope Articles and Studies
Limited Scope Webinars
Other Helpful Resources
Limited Scope Rules and Forms

The Illinois Supreme Court has adopted rules and statewide forms that support the use of limited scope representation in Illinois.

Forms

Rules

  • Illinois Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2 allows lawyers to “limit the scope of representation if the limitation is reasonable under the circumstances and the client gives informed consent.” 
  • Supreme Court Rule 13 allows lawyers to make limited appearances in Illinois civil court proceedings and to withdraw by oral motion or in writing after the representation is complete.  
  • Supreme Court Rule 11 requires that the opposing party or counsel serve all documents on both the attorney and the party while the limited scope appearance is in effect.
  • Supreme Court Rule 137 allows lawyers to prepare and review pleadings, motions, and other documents without signing the pleading or filing an appearance.
  • Illinois Rule of Professional Conduct 4.2 clarifies when a lawyer may communicate with a person represented by counsel on a limited basis.
  • Illinois Rule of Professional Conduct 5.5 clarifies that lawyers may counsel and coach litigants without filing an appearance.
CBA Limited Scope Referral Panel

The CBA referral panel is a list of experienced private attorneys who offer limited scope representation as one of their service offerings. Attorneys who offer limited scope representation in landlord/tenant matters and domestic relations matters are invited to apply.

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Panel Members