Limited Scope Representation Letter



Identification of Parties: This agreement, executed in duplicate with each party receiving an executed original, is made between _____________, hereafter referred to as “Attorney,” and _____________, hereafter referred to as “Client.”

1.    Nature of Case: The Client is requesting ongoing consulting services from Attorney in the following matter:



2.    Client Responsibilities and Control: Client shall remain responsible for the conduct of the case and understands that he/she will remain in control of and be responsible for all decisions made in the course of the case. Client agrees to:

a.     Cooperate with Attorney or office by complying with all reasonable requests for information in connection with the matter for which Client is requesting services;

b.     Keep attorney or office advised of Client’s concerns and any information that is pertinent to Client’s case;

c.     Provide Attorney with copies of all pleadings and correspondence to and from Client regarding the case;

d.     Immediately provide Attorney with any new pleadings or motions received from the other party;

e.     Keep all documents related to the case in a file for review by Attorney.

3.    Services to be performed by Attorney: Client and Attorney have agreed that Attorney will provide the following services, indicated by writing ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ [Attorney will not perform any services indicated by the word ‘NO’]:                 

a.     ________         Legal advice: office visits, telephone calls, fax, mail, email;

b.     ________         Advice about availability of alternative means to resolving the dispute,
                      including mediation and arbitration;

c.     ________         Evaluation of Client’s self-diagnosis of the case and advising Client about
                      legal rights and responsibilities;

d.     ________         Guidance and procedural information for filing or serving documents;

e.     ________         Review pleadings and other documents prepared by Client;

f.      ________         Suggest documents to be prepared; 

g.     ________         Draft pleadings, motions and other documents;

h.     ________         Factual investigation: contacting witnesses, public record searches, in-depth
                      interview of Client;

i.      ________         Assistance with computer support programs;

j.      ________         Legal research and analysis;

k.     ________         Evaluate settlement options;

l.      ________         Discovery: interrogatories, depositions, requests for document production;

m.    ________         Planning for negotiations, including simulated role-playing with Client;

n.     _______          Planning for court appearances, including simulated role-playing with

o.     ________         Standby telephone assistance during negotiations or settlement conferences;

p.     ________         Backup and troubleshooting during the hearing or trial;

q.     ________         Referring Client to expert witnesses, special masters or other counsel;

r.      ________         Counseling Client about an appeal;

s.     ________         Procedural assistance with an appeal and assisting with substantive legal
                      argument in an appeal;

t.      ________         Provide preventive planning and/or schedule legal check-ups;

u.     ________         Other                                                                                                                                                   ________________________________________________________                                           

4.     Attorney’s Responsibilities: Attorney will exercise due professional care and observe strict confidentiality in providing the services identified by the word “YES” in Paragraph 4 above. In providing those services, Attorney WILL NOT:

a.     Represent, speak for, appear for, or sign papers on the Client’s behalf;

b.     Become attorney of record on any court papers or litigate on Client’s behalf;

c.     Provide services which are not identified by the word ‘YES’ in Paragraph 4;

d.     Make decisions for Client about any aspect of the case;

e.     Protect Client’s property by means of restraining orders while discovery and/or negotiations are in progress.

f.      The Client may request that Attorney provide additional services. If Attorney agrees to provide additional services, those additional services will be specifically listed in an amendment to this Agreement, and initialed and dated by both parties. The date that both the Attorney and the Client initial any such list of additional services to be provided will be the date on which the Attorney becomes responsible for providing those additional services.  If the Client decides to retain the Attorney as the Client’s Attorney of record for handling the entire case on the Client’s behalf, the Client and the Attorney will enter into a new written Agreement setting forth that fact, and the Attorney’s additional responsibilities in the Client’s case.

g.     Right to Seek Advice of Other Counsel: Client is advised of the right to seek the advice and professional services of other counsel with respect to those services in paragraph 3, which are identified with the word ‘NO’ at any time during or following this Ongoing Consulting Agreement.

5.     Method of Payment for Services:

a.    Hourly Fee:

       The current hourly fee charged by Attorney for services under this agreement is $____. Unless a different fee arrangement is established in clause b) of this Paragraph, the hourly fee shall be payable at the time of the service. Attorney will charge in increments of one tenth of an hour, rounded off for each particular activity to the nearest one tenth of an hour.

       If, while this agreement is in effect, Attorney increases the hourly rate(s) being charged to clients generally for Attorney’s fees, that increase may be applied to fees incurred under this agreement, but only with respect to services provided thirty days or more after written notice of the increase is mailed to Client.  If Client chooses not to consent to the increased rate(s), Client may terminate Attorney’s services under this agreement by written notice effective when received by Attorney. 



b.    Payment from Deposit:                                                   

       For a continuing consulting role, Client will pay to Attorney a deposit of $____, to be received by Attorney on or before _________, and to be applied against Attorney’s fees and costs incurred by Client. This amount will be deposited by Attorney in Attorney’s trust account. Client authorizes Attorney to withdraw the principal from the trust account to pay Attorney’s fees and costs as they are incurred by Client. Any interest earned will be paid, as required by law, to the Minnesota IOLTA Fund. The deposit is refundable. If, at the termination of services under this agreement, the total amount incurred by Client for Attorney’s fees and costs is less than the amount of the deposit, the difference will be refunded to Client.               

Costs:  Client will pay Attorney’s out of pocket costs incurred in connection with this agreement, including long distance telephone and fax costs, photocopy expense and postage. All costs payable to third parties in connection with Client’s case including filing fees, investigation fees, deposition fees and the like will be paid directly by Client. Attorney will not advance costs to third parties on Client’s behalf.

       Client acknowledges that Attorney has made no promises about the total amount of Attorney’s fees to be incurred by Client under this agreement.

c.    Should it be necessary to institute any legal action for the enforcement of this agreement, the prevailing party shall be entitled to receive all court costs and reasonable attorney fees incurred in such action from the other party.

6.     Discharge of Attorney: Client may discharge Attorney at any time by written notice effective when received by Attorney. Unless specifically agreed by Attorney and Client, Attorney will provide no further services and advance no further costs on Client’s behalf after receipt of the notice. Notwithstanding the discharge, Client will remain obligated to pay Attorney at the agreed rate for all services provided and to reimburse Attorney for all costs incurred prior to such discharge.

7.     Withdrawal of Attorney: Attorney may withdraw at any time as permitted under the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct. The circumstances under which the Rules permit such withdrawal include, but are not limited to, the following: a) The client consents; b) the client’s conduct renders it unreasonably difficult for the Attorney to carry out the employment effectively; and c) the client fails to pay Attorney’s fees or costs as required by his or her agreement with the Attorney. 

        Notwithstanding Attorney’s withdrawal, Client will remain obligated to pay Attorney at the agreed rate for all services provided, and to reimburse Attorney for all costs incurred before the withdrawal.

        At the termination of services under this agreement, Attorney will promptly release all of Client’s papers and property to Client on request.          

8.    Resolving Disputes Between Client and Attorney

a.    Notice and Negotiation: If any dispute between Client and Attorney arises under this agreement regarding the payment of fees, Attorney’s professional services rendered to or for Client, and any other disagreement, regardless of the nature of the facts or legal theories involved, both Attorney and Client agree to meet and confer within ten (10) days of written notice by either Client or Attorney that the dispute exists. The purpose of this meeting and conference will be to negotiate a solution short of further dispute resolution proceedings.

b.    Mediation: If the dispute is not resolved through negotiation, Client and Attorney will attempt, within fifteen (15) days of failed negotiations, to agree on a neutral mediator whose role will be to facilitate further negotiations within fifteen (15) days. If the Attorney and Client cannot agree on a neutral mediator, they will request that the _____________ select a mediator. The mediation shall occur within fifteen (15) days after the mediator is selected. The Attorney and Client shall share the costs of the mediation, provided that the payment of costs and any attorney’s fees may be mediated. Nothing in this provision shall constitute a waiver of Client’s rights to State Bar fee arbitration or a trial de novo after a State Bar fee arbitration.

9.    Amendments and Additional Services: This written Agreement governs the entire relationship between Client and Attorney. All amendments shall be in writing and attached to this agreement. If Client wishes to obtain additional services from Attorney as defined in Paragraph 4, a photocopy of Paragraph 4 which clearly denotes which extra services are to be provided, signed and dated by both Attorney and Client and attached to this Agreement, shall qualify as an amendment.

10. Severability in Event of Partial Invalidity: If any provision of this agreement is held in whole or in part to be unenforceable for any reason, the remainder of that provision and of the entire agreement will be severable and remain in effect.

11. Statement of Client’s Understanding: I have carefully read this Agreement and believe that I understand all of its provisions. I signify my agreement with the following statements by initialing each one:

a.     ________         I have accurately described the nature of my case in paragraph 1. 

b.     ________         I will be responsible for the conduct of my case and will be in control of my 
                      case at all times as described in paragraph 2.

c.     ________         The services Attorney has agreed to perform in my case are identified by 
                      the word ‘YES’ in paragraph 3. I take responsibility for all other aspects of 
                      my case.

d.     ________         I understand and agree to the limitations on the scope of Attorney’s 
                      responsibilities identified in paragraph 4 and understand Attorney will not 
                      be responsible for my conduct in handling my case. 

e.     ________         I will pay Attorney for services as described in paragraph 5.

f.      ________         I will resolve any disputes I may have with Attorney under this Agreement 
                      in the manner described in paragraph 8.

g.     ________         I understand that any amendments to this Agreement shall be in writing, as
                       described in paragraph 9.

h.     ________         I acknowledge that I have been advised by Attorney that I have the right to 
                      consult with another independent attorney to review this Agreement and 
                      to advise me on my rights as a client before I sign this Agreement.



________________________________         ________________________________                 

                          (Client)                                                                           (Attorney)



________________________________         ________________________________                 

                          (Date)                                                                              (Date)




NOTE: This material is intended as only an example, which you may use in developing your own form. It is not considered legal advice and as always, you will need to do your own research to make your own conclusions with regard to the laws and ethical opinions of your jurisdiction. In no event will ISBA Mutual Insurance Company be liable for any direct, indirect, or consequential damages resulting from the use of this material.