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What is Limited Scope Representation?

  • 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.”  Limited scope representation may also be called unbundled or a la carte legal services.
  • Examples of limited scope representation include coaching self-represented litigants, giving limited legal advice, drafting and reviewing documents, gathering and preparing evidence, and even appearing in court for a portion of a case.

What Are the Rules Governing Limited Scope Representation?

  • Supreme Court Rule 13 allows lawyers to make limited appearances in civil court proceedings and to withdraw by oral motion or in writing after the representation is complete.  The rule includes forms for both entry and withdrawal of a limited scope appearance.
  • 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 assist self-represented litigants by preparing and reviewing 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 self-represented litigants without filing an appearance.

Here are some of our examples:

Q: Starting same business my ex boss runs…?: Me and my friend want to open up same kind of business that my ex boss runs. ( we would be using same vendors and manufacturer) Now is there a way for me to open it and not been sued by him ones he find out i am competing in exactly same business ? or is it even enforceable in Illinois? any recommendation greatly appreciated.

A: There may be a number of ways to defend against a non-compete. The only way to find out if any of the defenses apply to you and your friend contact an attorney and provide a copy of your employment agreement.

Q: How can I sue to recover money lent to an ex in what was supposed to be a short term loan with no contact in writing?: Very stupidly lended my ex $55K in November 2018. He payed me back 10K by the end of the year and then another 5K in May 2019 so he still owes me $40K but now he states he has no intention of paying back the rest of it.

A: Admittedly that a contract without a written agreement may not be strong, there might be other ways to prove that there was a oral contract. Don’t let the lack of a written contract discourage you just yet.

Q: How do I terminate my lawn service contract? It schedule to end Nov. 30th: I wrote on the contract not to use any weed killer, fertilizer/seeding INSIDE the yard…due to my dogs, and they seeded today and last year. The worker stated that he has no list informing him of this request and the owner left me a voicemail stated that he has a list for his workers.

A: If you have a written contract, you should take it to an attorney for a quick review, but there are typically three scenarios: 

1) You send a written notice to the other party and give them a chance to remedy the breach; 
2) They materially breached the contract and you are allowed to terminate; or 
3) You breach the contract by terminating and take a chance of being sued for breach of contract. 

Again, this depends on the fine-print in the agreement. An attorney can review the agreement and can even draft the (breach notice/demand letter/termination notice) with proper references to the agreement and any laws that may apply to this agreement. 

A demand letter from an attorney may get the other party to take your concerns more seriously.

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