retainer; lawyer; alberta; law; limited scope retainer

Limited Scope Retainer

How Limited Scope Retainers Differ From Traditional Models

Limited scope retainer lawyers generally offer traditional legal service deliver. Yet these lawyers then also offer services on a piecemeal specifically set out model as well. Traditionally people hire a lawyer to deal with a matter from start to finish. You attend an initial meeting, go over all the relevant information, and that lawyer then represents you until settlement of the matter or a judge gives her or his final verdict. In some instances, that lawyer is then retained on an appeal.

Under this alternative model, limited scope retainer lawyers offer their services on an “a la cart” manner. The limited scope retainer lawyer is only hired to do one or two specific things for a client. The result is that a client only pays for the services that they want to pay for. This allows more people to successfully represent themselves. The limited scope retainer lawyers at Kahane Law Office in Calgary offer services on a limited scope basis. These services are most often used in family law and civil litigation but also real estate, corporate, employment, criminal and estates law. Examples of the types of limited scope work offered include:

Legal Opinion Limited Scope Retainers

If a client only wants to discover what their legal position is, then this is perfect. An example of this includes family law consultations. In this case, the lawyer will meet with the client, review all relevant materials and give the client a legal opinion that answers the client’s questions or concerns. you pay a flat rate or hourly for these services. Often these occur in a single meeting and the client has no further financial obligations to the lawyer. Other times, the lawyer will have to research specific law and then get back to the client. Client’s want to hire limited scope retainer lawyers in this way for several reasons. These reasons include:

  • Determining if they have a case to pursue;
  • Understanding what their legal options are;
  • Informing themselves on what they should or should not do to avoid problems; or
  • Decide if they are able to represent themselves in a matter.

Demand Letters

Hiring limited scope retainer lawyers to only draft a demand letter occurs frequently. For a flat rate, the

lawyer will draft and send a demand letter to the opposing party. The advantage of this is that the other side knows that you are serious enough about your claim to hire a lawyer. The flat rate usually does not include negotiating or multiple communications. Demand letters are often an effective mechanism to solve issues at a low cost.

Periodic Guidance, Review And / Or Direction Meetings

If an individual wants to represent themselves in court but is not familiar with the process, a limited scope retainer lawyer can meet with them periodically to give the client direction and guidance as to the next step. The individual then can do their own legwork, drafting and attend at court without having to do the research and try to figure out what the most effective next step is. Missing steps in court matters may result in losing your case before ever getting in front of a judge.

Drafting Of Pleading, Claims or Other Specific Documents

Some clients who represent themselves are intimidated when it comes to drafting documents. These include statements of claim, civil claims, notices of motions, affidavits, etc. Under a limited scope retainer, you hire lawyer to only draft a specific document or documents. This leaves you to represent yourself in court knowing that you will not lose because of a technical issue with regard to something that you left out.

Attending At Court For Specific Parts Of A Matter

In contrast to the last example, some clients are happy to research and draft paperwork themselves but are nervous about attending in court. Other times they just want a lawyer to attend with them in court to sit, take notes and give them suggestions along the way. Sometimes a client only wants our firm to secure a specific part of a matter such as getting a substitutional service order.

Collections

Clients who represent themselves and win, either after a trial or by default judgement, sometimes need assistance in collecting on their judgment. These people hire limited scope retainer lawyers to only take action to secure assets, garnish accounts or garnish employment income.

Advantages Of Limited Scope Retainers

The number one advantage to clients who decide to proceed with a limited scope retainer is saving money. Sometimes a personally needs a short meeting to get advice as to how to avoid creating a problem. Other times they want to do all the work themselves but do not want to do it all on their own. Either way, a limited scope retainer allows a client to hand pick which parts of legal services they want to hire a lawyer for and not pay for another further than that.

Disadvantages To Clients

Notwithstanding that a person hires a lawyer for small parts of a greater matter, they may not be in a position to effectively represent themselves. In the end they may save money of legal fees but lose the matter. The other disadvantage is time. Representing yourself takes a lot of time and energy. Not only do you have to do the same steps a lawyer will have to do, you will have to do the research to do it and, since a lawyer is very familiar with these aspects, they are able to do them more efficiently. It also takes time to learn the rules and procedures. Many people would rather hire a lawyer to deal with things for them.

Picking Limited Scope Retainer Lawyers

Not all lawyers are willing to act under a limited scope retainer. Some prefer this model. When picking limited scope retainer lawyers, you should ensure certain things before hiring them. First, pick a lawyer who focuses on and has experience in the area of law you need help in. Second, make sure that the lawyer plans on an initial interview that is long enough for them to get as much as an understanding of your matter as is needed to perform the specific tasks that you are retaining them for. Last, make sure that the scope of work that the lawyer is doing (or not doing) for you is clearly defined so that there are no surprises.

Hiring A Lawyer On A Limited Scope

The lawyers at Kahane Law Office are happy to be retained on a limited scope basis. Between all our lawyers, we are hire this way on a daily basis (an often multiple times a day). If you have questions, or would like to hire one of our Calgary area lawyers,