The Illinois Supreme Court has amended three rules to allow for limited scope representation.
Currently 20 other states permit the practice, which allows lawyers to offer paid legal services on a part of a client's case, instead of seeing it through from beginning to end. Under the process, the total legal fees should be more affordable.
"These rules will improve access to Illinois courts for people with limited means," Chief Justice Thomas Kilbride said. "The rules enable an attorney to represent a client on a limited part of a lawsuit and then withdraw from the case. The nature of some cases requires full legal representation, but many do not. This will allow lawyers to offer their pro bono services more efficiently, and provide a person the possibility of hiring a lawyer to protect their interests without the burden of paying for complete representation."
Supreme Court Rules 13, 11, and 137 were amended to clarify and encourage the practice. Under the amended rules, a lawyer must sign a written agreement with the client disclosing the limited representation and then file a Notice of Limited Scope Appearance with the court. Supreme Court Rule 13 covers most of these changes.
Supreme Court Rule 11 was changed to require all documents to be served on both the party and the attorney while the limited representation is in effect.
Supreme Court Rule 137 was amended to clarify a lawyer can help a person who is representing themselves in drafting or reviewing a pleading or other paper without having to make a general or limited scope appearance or signing the pleading or other paper. Instead, the attorney can rely on the information given to them by the self-represented person.
The proposal was announced Friday, June 14.
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