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Featured Question

My decision to represent myself for certain aspects of my case is not working out as I planned. Can I upgrade my limited scope retainer to a full retainer?

It depends on the circumstances. If you took all necessary and reasonable steps to keep the parts of your case you were responsible for up to date, then a lawyer may quite likely be able to take full carriage of your file under a full retainer.

However, if you did not, then considerable time will be required to rectify the course of your proceeding. Under these circumstances, a full retainer depends on the lawyer’s ability and availability to provide full legal representation competently and efficiently.

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Most Recent FAQs

Does a lawyer owe the same duty of professionalism under a limited scope retainer as a general retainer?

The Rules of Professional Conduct apply equally to limited scope retainers and general retainers. In other words, a lawyer working on limited scope retainer is required to provide legal services to the same level of competence, integrity and quality of service, to a name a few, as a full retainer. The Law Society of Upper Canada even added a rule delineating appropriate conduct when working on limited scope retainer. For more information, see Rule 3.2-1A of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

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Will I save time and money with a limited scope retainer?

Having a lawyer take carriage of certain parts of your case will alleviate some of the burden of handling your own family law dispute. When you retain a lawyer to perform specified tasks in your case, you will save time by not having to do those tasks yourself. While spending money to save money seems counterintuitive, it is not when you consider the likely alternative—a general retainer. A limited scope retainer undoubtedly saves you money when compared to full legal representation under a general retainer. The amount of time and... MORE »

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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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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