Limited Scope Retainers

“Unbundling” is a name given to the provision of legal services for part, but not all, of a client’s legal matter, by agreement with the client. Another name is “limited scope retainers”.

The idea is that by providing Rules of Professional Conduct and guidelines on the issue to lawyers and paralegals, the public will have greater access to justice.

Unbundling raises all kinds of ethical and procedural issues. The OBA struck a task force to draft the OBA’s submissions on the subject to the Law Society’s Professional Regulation Committee. Here are the main issues identified in the OBA’s submissions :

Clarity of the agreement between the lawyer and the client;

Communications between counsel and the adverse client who is receiving limited services, and disclosure about limited service retainers;

Is the work capable of being done on a limited service basis?;

Will the promotion of LSA’s tend to erode the delivery of full legal services? ;

Last month Convocation of the Law Society of Upper Canada approved amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct and the Paralegal Rules of Conduct to provide guidance to lawyers and paralegals who provide legal services under limited scope retainers. Convocation’s full report can be seen on the Law Society’s website, Convocation Reports, Professional Regulation Committee. For the blacklined version, see Appendix 4 at PDF page 47.

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