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2014 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 either a substitution of attorney or an order to be relieved as attorney is filed and served:

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

(B)The party must be served directly with documents that relate to all other issues outside the scope of the attorney's representation.

(e) Procedures to be relieved as counsel on completion of limited scope representation

An attorney who has completed the tasks specified in the Notice of Limited Scope Representation (form FL-950) may use the following procedures in this rule to request that he or she be relieved as attorney in cases in which the attorney has appeared before the court as an attorney of record and the client has not signed a Substitution of Attorney-Civil (form MC-050):

(1)Application

An application to be relieved as attorney on completion of limited scope representation under Code of Civil Procedure section 284(2) must be directed to the client and made on the Application to Be Relieved as Counsel Upon Completion of Limited Scope Representation (form FL-955).

(2)Filing and service of application

The application to be relieved as attorney must be filed with the court and served on the client and on all other parties or attorneys for parties in the case. The client must also be served with a blank Objection to Application to Be Relieved as Counsel on Completion of Limited Scope Representation (form FL-956).

(3)No objection

If no objection is served and filed with the court within 15 days from the date that the Application to Be Relieved as Counsel on Completion of Limited Scope Representation (form FL-955) is served on the client, the attorney making the application must file an updated form FL-955 indicating the lack of objection, along with a proposed Order on Application to Be Relieved as Counsel on Completion of Limited Scope Representation (form FL-958). The clerk must then forward the order for judicial signature.

(4)Objection

If an objection to the application is served and filed within 15 days, the clerk must set a hearing date on the Objection to Application to Be Relieved as Counsel on Completion of Limited Scope Representation (form FL-956). The hearing must be scheduled no later than 25 days from the date the objection is filed. The clerk must send the notice of the hearing to the parties and the attorney.

(5)Service of the order

If no objection is served and filed and the proposed order is signed, the attorney who filed the Application to Be Relieved as Counsel on Completion of Limited Scope Representation (form FL-955) must serve a copy of the signed order on the client and on all parties or the attorneys for all parties who have appeared in the case. The court may delay the effective date of the order relieving the attorney until proof of service of a copy of the signed order on the client has been filed with the court.

(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 adopted effective January 1, 2013.

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