What is LR? How Can you use it? The Ethics and Civil Practice Rules The Nuts and Bolts of the Rules

5/14/2014
June 13, 2014 Dorene A. Kuffer
Law Office of Dorene A. Kuffer, P.C.
[email protected] .com
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What is LR?
How Can you use it?
The Ethics and Civil Practice Rules
The Nuts and Bolts of the Rules
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Informed Consent
Reasonable
Competent
Conflicts
Entering your Appearance
Attribution
Ending Representation
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Limited‐scope representation is an arrangement with a lawyer to receive help on some parts of a case  Previously decided fee, limited fees or pro bono
 Such representation is also called unbundled legal services, unbundling, limited scope assistance, or discrete task representation
 In such services the client and attorney select specific services to be provided rather than the full package of services that are traditionally offered by law firms.
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How do you use it in your practice?
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Taking on a part of a case
 Legal advice
 Legal evaluation of the client’s case.
 Guidance and procedural information for filing or serving documents.
 Review of correspondence and court documents.
 Factual investigation: contacting witnesses, public record searches, in‐depth interview of client.
 Legal research and analysis.
 Discovery: interrogatories, depositions, requests for document production.
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Taking on one case and not another  DV v. DM
 Trial v. Appeal
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1‐089 NMRA, paragraph A (page 1)
 Allows for limited appearance
 Informs you how to draft
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1‐089 NMRA, paragraph C
 Rules for withdrawal from limited rep
 No permission required
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16‐102C ‐ Scope of Representation (page 2)
 A lawyer may limit the scope of the representation if the limitation is reasonable under the circumstances and the client gives informed consent. 
Suggests a two pronged approach
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Informed consent by client
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What all parties are responsible for
In writing
Check‐ and task‐lists
Retainer
Reasonable under the circumstances
 Determined at time of entry
 Is the limited service useful to the client?
 Sometimes LS is all a client can get 5
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Handout or Brochure for client
 Explain what limited service is
 Explains the type of work each party can/will do
 Explains need for complete communication and information
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Case Opening/Engagement Letter
 Fully sets forth the agreement
 Explained with client prior to signing
Example of my Fee Agreement/Engagement Letter ‐
page 8
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Use a checklist
 Accurately document everything
 Insures you notify client of everything
 Helps to remember forms/brochures/information
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Use a task and/or issue list
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As an addendum to the retainer
Agree together who handles what
Include dates for completion to keep the case moving
Each case is unique Sample at pages 13‐16 and in supplemental materials
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Can depend on the type of case and representation you wish to provide
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Simple
One‐time consultation
On‐going consultation
Court appearance
All include check and task lists.
I use a simple one‐page form for all consultations.
 Rule 16‐101: the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.
 Varies with the scope of representation and the type and complexity of the case
 In LR you also need to be a good coach
 Patient
 Good communicator
 See comment 7 to 16‐102 on page 3
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16‐303E ‐ In all proceedings where a lawyer appears for a client in a limited manner, that lawyer shall disclose to the tribunal the scope of representation.
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 Comments ‐ “Attorneys may give technical assistance and…may prepare without attribution, papers for filing by a self‐represented litigation without violating the duty of candor”
Caution: In Federal Courts you must attribute your work
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You MUST check for conflicts!
Protects the law firm/lawyer so you won’t be conflicted out in the future
 No conflict exists (and no need to check for conflicts) if:
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 Free, short‐term limited rep ie: Legal hotline/tip line
 No expectation by lawyer or client that continuing representation will occur
 Concurrent and successive conflicts ONLY if the lawyer “knows a conflict exists”. Same with vicarious conflict.
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Rule 16‐505
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Rules in all Courts are Similar
District Court Rule of Civil Procedure 1‐089:
 File “Limited Entry of Appearance”
 Signature Block: “Limited Entry of Appearance”
 Include client’s address for service
Similar Rules in Metro Court (3‐107 and 3‐108) and Magistrate Court (2‐107 and 2‐108)
 Page 17 example
 REMINDER: “Limited Entry of 
Appearance” must appear on every subsequent pleading you file!!!!
Watch out for emergencies
Stay in your area of expertise
Don’t change the scope without a written agreement
 Chose appropriate clients
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 Not too needy
 Not too emotional
 Reasonable expectations from the outset
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Use of Follow up Checklists
 Copy to client
 Makes sure everyone is informed!
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Special Issues With DV Victims
 Power imbalance
 May not be appropriate to self‐represent
 Be open with the client
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Don’t just “hand out forms”
 Provide advice on completion
 Provide advice on what to do with the forms
 Brochures, checklists for client
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Watch out for technical and difficult issues
 QDRO’s
 As lawyer we should counsel clients away from pro se representation in difficult issues or if the client is not able to self‐
represent.
 Rule of Civil Procedure 1‐089C
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Limited entry of appearance filed,
Completed the purpose of the Limited Representation,
No court order permitting withdrawal needed,
Just file Notice of Withdrawal or Substitution of Counsel,
If you don’t file the Notice the court can keep you in the case (or enter an order requiring any actions the court deems necessary),
 If you attempt to withdraw before you scope of rep is complete, court permission needed.
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 Rule 16‐116 – Declining or Terminating representation
 Comply with applicable law requiring notice to or permission of tribunal (Rule 1‐089 – no permission required)
 Comments: “Ordinarily, a representation in a manner is completed when the agreed upon assistance has been concluded”
 when a lawyer completes the limited service the lawyer has promised to provide, the court should allow the lawyer to withdraw.
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Must also comply with rule 16‐116D
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Reasonable notice to client
Allow time to employ other counsel
Surrender papers and property
Refunded advanced fees/costs not expended
• 16‐102 (C ) – Comments: “upon expiration of the limited representation agreement, the lawyer should advise the client of any impending deadlines, pending tasks, or other consequences flowing from the term of the Limited Representation”.
• Carefully crafted closing letters are key
• Example of Notice – page 19
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