Unbundled rule report sent to Supreme Court

first_img Unbundled rule report sent to Supreme Court Senior Editor A proposal to create a family court rule specifically allowing lawyers to provide unbundled services to clients in family law cases will be presented to the Supreme Court. The Bar Board of Governors, at its October 19 meeting in Boca Raton, approved all five findings and recommendations of the Unbundled Legal Services Special Committee. That includes asking the court to direct the Family Law Rules Committee to draft a rule that allows lawyers to provide limited and specific representation in court. “Unbundled is allowing a lawyer to perform a discrete task in the context of a larger legal issue or case,” said board member Sharon Langer, who chaired the Unbundled Legal Services Special Committee. “What we’re really talking about is limited representation.” The committee, she said, received a variety of input, including a proposed family court rule and recommendation from the Family Law Section. “We relied on the Family Law Section’s research and we agree there is a need for limited representation in family law matters,” Langer said. “We did not address any other rule changes.” The limited representation includes allowing lawyers to appear in court without undertaking the responsibility for the entire case from the client. Only two other states, Colorado and Arizona, allow limited representation and that does not extend to courtroom work, she said. The final conclusions of the committee, Langer said, are: •Acceptance of the Family Law Section’s investigation showing unbundled services are needed in family law matters. • No other section or committee indicated limited representation is needed in other legal areas, therefore the unbundled committee concluded none is needed at this time. • Florida Bar rules as drawn allow limited representation envisioned by the Family Law Section in its proposed rule. • Proposed Family Law Rule 12.040(d) should be addressed to ensure it conforms with candor-to-the-tribunal requirements in Rule 4-3.3. • The Supreme Court should instruct the Family Law Rules Committee to draft a rule that specifically addresses limited representation in court. Langer noted that the Supreme Court has expressed interest in finding more ways to improve access to the courts, including specifically with unbundled services. She added, “I think the unanimous report that we bring to you today comes with some very intellectual and studied individuals feeling this is the way the Bar needs to go at this time.” Michael Gora, a member of the unbundled committee told the board the rule is needed to “increase the ability to deliver legal services in as many forms as possible to allow as many people as possible to access legal services. I believe it is a benefit to the legal system; I believe it is a benefit to our customers.” Board member Arthur Rice asked if the board passing the report to the Supreme Court meant it was an endorsement with no chance for further consideration. “All we’re asking is for the court to ask the Family Court Rules Committee to draft a rule,” Bar President Terry Russell replied. “I think we’ll have more than adequate opportunity in the future to review the consequences of the rule.” Langer recounted that the Unbundled Legal Services Special Committee was formed by the Bar in response to a directive from the Supreme Court to investigate unbundled services. The committee got a proposed rule from the Family Law Section and heard from several other sections which said they had no objections to unbundled services. The committee prepared and published preliminary proposals, which drew concerns from the Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors. The committee added two members from the YLD in response and substantially revamped its proposals for the final report, she said. November 1, 2001 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News Unbundled rule report sent to Supreme Courtlast_img

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