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2018 California Rules of Court

Rule 5.425. Limited scope representation; application of rules

(a) Definition

"Limited scope representation" is a relationship between an attorney and a person seeking legal services in which they have agreed that the scope of the legal services will be limited to specific tasks that the attorney will perform for the person.

(b) Application

This rule applies to limited scope representation in family law cases. Rules 3.35 through 3.37 apply to limited scope representation in civil cases.

(c) Types of limited scope representation

These rules recognize two types of limited scope representation:

(1)Noticed representation

This type occurs when an attorney and a party notify the court and other parties of the limited scope representation. The procedures in (d) and (e) apply only to cases involving noticed limited scope representation.

(2)Undisclosed representation

In this type of limited scope representation, a party contracts with an attorney to draft or assist in drafting legal documents, but the attorney does not make an appearance in the case. The procedures in (f) apply to undisclosed representation.

(d) Noticed limited scope representation

(1)A party and an attorney must provide the required notice of their agreement for limited scope representation by serving other parties and filing with the court a Notice of Limited Scope Representation (form FL-950).

(2)After the notice in (1) is received and until a Substitution of Attorney-Civil (form MC-050), or a Notice of Completion of Limited Scope Representation (form FL-955) with the "Final" box checked, or an order to be relieved as attorney is filed and served:

(A)The attorney must be served only with documents that relate to the issues identified in the Notice of Limited Scope Representation (form FL-950); and

(B)Documents that relate to all other issues outside the scope of the attorney's representation must be served directly on the party or the attorney representing the party on those issues.

(3)Electronic service of notices and documents described in this rule is permitted if the client previously agreed in writing to accept service of documents electronically from the attorney.

(4)Before being relieved as counsel, the limited scope attorney must file and serve the order after hearing or judgment following the hearing or trial at which he or she provided representation unless:

(A)Otherwise directed by the court; or

(B)The party agreed in the Notice of Limited Scope Representation (form FL-950) that completion of the order after hearing is not within the scope of the attorney's representation.

(Subd (d) amended effective September 1, 2017.)

(e) Procedures to be relieved as counsel on completion of limited scope representation if client has not signed a substitution of attorney

An attorney who has completed the tasks specified in the Notice of Limited Scope Representation (form FL-950) may use the following procedures to request that he or she be relieved as attorney if the client has not signed a Substitution of Attorney-Civil (form MC-050):

(1)Notice of completion of limited scope representation

The limited scope attorney must serve the client with the following documents:

(A)A Notice of Completion of Limited Scope Representation (form FL-955) with the "Proposed" box marked and the deadline for the client to file the objection completed by the attorney;

(B)Information for Client About Notice of Completion of Limited Scope Representation (form FL-955-INFO); and

(C)A blank Objection to Proposed Notice of Completion of Limited Scope Representation (form FL-956).

(2)No objection

If the client does not file and serve an Objection to Proposed Notice of Completion of Limited Scope Representation (form FL-956) within 10 calendar days from the date that the Notice of Completion of Limited Scope Representation (form FL-955) was served, the limited scope attorney:

(A)Must serve the client and the other parties or, if represented, their attorneys, with a Notice of Completion of Limited Scope Representation (form FL-955) with the "Final" box marked;

(B)Must file the final Notice of Completion of Limited Scope Representation (form FL-955) with the court, and attach the proofs of service of both the "Proposed" and "Final" notices of completion;

(C)May not be charged a fee to file the final notice of completion, even if the attorney has not previously made an appearance in the case; and

(D)Is deemed to be relieved as attorney on the date that the final notice of completion is served on the client.

(3)Objection

If the client files the Objection to Proposed Notice of Completion of Limited Scope Representation (form FL-956) within 10 calendar days from the date that the proposed notice of completion was served, the following procedures apply:

(A)The clerk must set a hearing date on the Objection to Proposed Notice of Completion of Limited Scope Representation (form FL-956) to be conducted no later than 25 court days from the date the objection is filed.

(B)The court may charge a motion fee to file the objection and schedule the hearing.

(C)The objection-including the date, time, and location of the hearing-must be served on the limited scope attorney and all other parties in the case (or on their attorneys, if they are represented). Unless the court orders a different time for service, the objection must be served by the deadline specified in Information for Client About Notice of Completion of Limited Scope Representation (form FL-955-INFO).

(D)If the attorney wishes, he or she may file and serve a Response to Objection to Proposed Notice of Completion of Limited Scope Representation (form FL-957). Unless otherwise directed by the court, any response should be filed with the court and served on the client and other parties, or their attorneys, at least nine court days before the hearing.

(E)Unless otherwise directed by the court, the attorney must prepare the Order on Completion of Limited Scope Representation (form FL-958) and obtain the judge's signature.

(F)The attorney is responsible for filing and serving the order on the client and other parties after the hearing, unless the court directs otherwise.

(G)If the court finds that the attorney has completed the agreed-upon work, the representation is concluded on the date determined by the court in Order on Completion of Limited Scope Representation (form FL-958).

(Subd (e) amended effective January 1, 2018; previously amended and renumbered effective September 1, 2017.)

(f) Nondisclosure of attorney assistance in preparation of court documents

(1)Nondisclosure

In a family law proceeding, an attorney who contracts with a client to draft or assist in drafting legal documents, but does not make an appearance in the case, is not required to disclose within the text of the document that he or she was involved in preparing the documents.

(2)Attorney's fees

If a litigant seeks a court order for attorney's fees incurred as a result of document preparation, the litigant must disclose to the court information required for a proper determination of attorney's fees, including the name of the attorney who assisted in the preparation of the documents, the time involved or other basis for billing, the tasks performed, and the amount billed.

(3)Applicability

This rule does not apply to an attorney who has made a general appearance or has contracted with his or her client to make an appearance on any issue that is the subject of the pleadings.

Rule 5.425 amended effective January 1, 2018; adopted effective January 1, 2013; previously amended effective September 1, 2017.)

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