Limited Assistance Representation, or LAR, is when a litigant hires an attorney to help him or her with portion(s) of the legal case, instead of the usual full representation, also known as general appearance.
First introduced by the Massachusetts Courts in November 2006 as “limited representation role” lawyers can perform for clients when it comes to matters related to the Probate Court. Initially, it was launched as an 18-month projects in the counties of Suffolk and Hampden, but Norfolk was later included.
Due to its success, the Supreme Court decided to indefinitely extend the 18-month time limit on May, 2009. The service was also made available in all Probate Courts, and every division of trial courts are allowed to implement it. then in November 2010, the service of limited assistance representation was made available in the Housing Court, as well as District Courts in January 2011.
Benefit of limited assistance representation
Usually, attorneys are hired for LAR to assist litigants in the most crucial and complicated part(s) of the legal process. For example, the pre-trial conference, or motion to dismiss. This means that clients can still seek professional, legal advice for their case when they need it most, without having to pay a lot of money. Therefore, the major benefit of limited assistance representation is providing legal assistance to litigants at a much lower cost than what they would have spent for a general appearance.
LAR makes it possible for litigants, who, without this service, may be representing themselves in a court of law without legal assistance to seek advice from experienced and qualified attorneys. A detailed agreement between the litigant and the attorney is made, which clearly outlines which parts of the case the attorney will be in charge of, and which parts the litigant will handle on his or her own. The fee to be paid is also specified.
If, at any point during the proceeding, the litigant wants the attorney to take care of more tasks, he or she is allowed to alter the agreement, including the fee.
Why an attorney may be hired for limited assistance representation
Limited Assistance Representation is available for any litigant with an ongoing civil case, who wants to be represented by an attorney for some parts of the case, but not the entire case. The attorney can also assist the litigant only as an advisor, or help with paperwork. This means that he or she may not always have to file an appearance, or appear in front of a court of law. It depends on the kind of agreement made.
An attorney needs to undergo a mandatory training to be able to render his or her services for a limited assistance representation. Below are some tasks that attorneys are usually hired for in Limited Assistance Representation:
- For assistance in paperwork
An attorney may be hired to draft documents that have to be filed with the court for a litigant. In other words, the attorney takes care of all paperwork, without mentioning his or her name in the document. Instead, “This document was prepared with the assistance of counsel,” is usually written.
- Advising the litigant on legal procedures
An attorney may advise the litigant on legal procedures, which are not usually known to the common man. this is done outside the court, and the attorney does not need to appear in court.
- Appear in court for a part of the hearing
An attorney can file a Notice of Limited Appearance to appear for a part of the hearing, and after the event, file for a Notice of Withdrawal of Limited Appearance.
If you want to know more about Limited Assistance Representation, call Konstantilakis Law today for a consultation.