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Is a limited scope retainer appropriate for all family matters and all clients?

A limited scope retainer may not be appropriate where an opposing party is exceptionally adversarial and legal issues are complex. In such cases, a client’s interests may be best served by retaining a lawyer for full legal representation. Additionally, clients who do not have adequate time or capacity to represent themselves should consider a general retainer.

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Most Recent FAQs

What are some advantages of a limited scope retainer?

Limited scope retainers offer the following advantages:

  • Save time – with less to do on your own, you will have more time to dedicate to other occupations;
  • Save money – hiring a lawyer to perform only the legal tasks you are not comfortable doing on your own will save you money on legal fees;
  • Remain in control – you control all other aspects of your matter save for the ones you retained a lawyer to complete.
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Limited Scope Retainers: Does the lawyer complete tasks related to the ones I hired her to do?

The lawyer performs only the legal tasks he or she was retained to complete. You remain responsible for all other aspects of your family law matter. For example, if you retain a lawyer to provide drafting services, you remain responsible for all correspondences between you and the opposing party or their counsel, service and filing of documents, negotiations, court appearances, to name a few.

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Limited Scope Retainers: How do I decide which types of legal services I need help with for my family law matter?

First, you need to figure out what your case may entail. You may want to consult with a family law lawyer to get a sense of what a typical family law case involves. Second, you need to figure out what you can or cannot do on your own. To determine what you can or cannot handle on your own, you should assess your strengths and weaknesses. Once these determinations are made, you will be in a position to make an informed decision about which parts of your case you need... MORE »

What types of legal services are available under a limited scope retainer?

Common legal services offered under a limited scope retainer include the following:

  • Legal opinions – a general legal opinion concerning your family law matter and/or ongoing consultations;
  • Drafting services – drafting of the written materials for your case (e.g., demand letters, pleadings, written submissions);
  • Coaching services – preparing you for mediation, conferences and/or trial;
  • Litigation services – advocating on your behalf as your lawyer of record at limited court appearances; or
  • Legal Research – researching the law as it relates to moving your matter forward before a court.
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