Limited Assistance Representation

Posted by Stephen F. McDonough | Aug 13, 2014 | 0 Comments

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If your budget is tight, Limited Assistance Representation can provide you with help on certain portions of your case.

Hiring a lawyer that meets the standards to represent you in a limited fashion through the LAR program may be your best choice.

Limited Assistance Representation (LAR) is also referred to unbundled legal services.  Under the LAR model, a lawyer assists the client with specific parts of the case, without providing the traditional full representation.  With limited assistance representation, a detailed client fee agreement specifies what portions of the case the attorney is responsible for, and what tasks the client will handle.

Limited Assistance Representation  started in Massachusetts in 2009, and is now available throughout all of our Massachusetts Probate and Family Courts.

Traditionally, once an attorney filed a Notice of Appearance on behalf of a client, it could be challenging for the lawyer to terminate his or her representation in some instances, thus some attorneys would hesitate in accepting certain cases.  The theory behind LAR is that many people simply cannot afford to retain a qualified lawyer for their entire case, so historically those people are left with no choice other than representing themselves, also known as acting “pro se.”  This all or nothing method left many people without any legal help.  Limited assistance representation helps people hire lawyers for certain portions of their case, keeping their legal expenses manageable.

How Might You Benefit from Limited Assistance Representation?

A limited assistance representation may include different services, including:

  • Drafting your pleadings and documents
  • Coaching you about the law, procedural rules, and strategy
  • Appear in court for you for a specific hearing or conference

LAR services may be a reasonable alternative for you if you do not have the financial resources available to hire an attorney for a general representation for matters such as:

  • Massachusetts Divorce
  • Child Support Modification or Contempt
  • Custody Modification or Contempt
  • Temporary Orders (Motion for Temporary Orders)
  • Alimony Modification or Contempt
  • Review of Divorce Agreement, perhaps drafted as part of the mediation process outside our firm

Perhaps the biggest benefit of the limited assistance program is its flexibility.   A client may decide to later hire the attorney for a general representation at any time during or after counsel's limited appearance.  LAR also helps our strained court system, as pro se litigants tend to require more of the court's limited resources.

About the Author

Stephen F. McDonough

Stephen works closely with clients facing divorce or other family conflict. He is a certified mediator through the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation, a designation that only about 11% of mediators have obtained. In addition to providing mediation services, Stephen regularly appears in...


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