Adding by Subtracting: How Limited Scope Agreements for Dispute Resolution Representation Can Increase Access to Attorney Services
49 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2013 Last revised: 1 Jun 2022
Date Written: April 15, 2013
Given the complexities of the legal system, pro se litigants understandably have difficulties navigating the legal labyrinth, and empirical evidence confirms that unrepresented parties rarely prevail in litigation. In other words, pro se litigants often do not have true “access to justice.” One effort to increase access to justice for those otherwise unable to afford legal services has been in the area of unbundled legal services, or limited scope representation. Traditionally, providers of unbundled services have focused on litigation activities, such as document drafting and hearing representation. These actions, however, simply move a pro se litigant along in the process without ever helping those parties resolve the real issues facing them. This Article brings a new suggestion to the literature dealing with limited scope representation by urging counsel and clients to use unbundled services to settle cases – not prolong them. Through the use of effective client counseling, attorneys and clients should spend funds for limited scope representation on alternative dispute resolution services, including negotiation counseling, negotiation representation, collaborative law, cooperative law, mediation counseling, mediation representation, and arbitration representation. These types of services have the means to truly achieve client interests and solve disputes, thus making them the most economical choice for clients. Attorneys, court systems, and pro bono groups also benefit from the proposal by giving increased work to attorneys, lightening court dockets, and offering manageable pro bono opportunities.
Keywords: mediation, alternative dispute resolution, negotiation, settlement counsel, limited scope, unbundling, ethics
JEL Classification: K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation