A limited representation agreement is an agreement where a lawyer agrees to undertake some services for a client, but does not agree to handle the client’s entire case. One example of a limited representation agreement is where a lawyer agrees to help a pro se litigant by writing briefs or discovery materials but does not agree to go to Court or handle depositions. Some courts have resisted these agreements and have sanctioned lawyers who have agreed to provide limited services to clients.
In Persels & Associates, LLC v. Capital One Bank, (USA), N.A., 2012-CA-001447-MR, the Supreme Court of Kentucky heard an appeal by three lawyers who entered into limited representation agreements with pro se clients and were sanctioned by a trial court judge.
Sarah Jackson and David Thomas, individual debtors, retained two lawyers to provide limited representation. According to the opinion, the limited representation agreements provided that neither lawyer “was required to sign pleadings, enter an appearance, or attend court proceedings.” Instead, the lawyers assisted the debtors in preparing pleadings. In 2011, the Circuit Court ordered the two lawyers to appear and show cause why they should not be held in contempt. After a hearing the Court held that the lawyers violated Kentucky’s Rule of Civil Procedure 11 and fined each of them $1.00.