This blog is intended for informational use only. The information contained herein should not be construed as offering legal advice or a legal opinion.
Anyone who has had a need to talk with or employ a lawyer knows that lawyers are not cheap; and the State of New Hampshire continues to make its courts more easily accessible to the average person who may not be able to afford a lawyer for every legal issue in their life. So why, then, would you ever consider hiring an attorney, and under what circumstances? If you find yourself involved in a litigation matter (if you have a need to sue someone or have had a law suit filed against you), it might be well worth some of your time and money, early on, to speak with an attorney about your case; even if you do not hire that attorney to handle all aspects of your case.
In New Hampshire, lawyers can agree to represent clients on a limited basis. See New Hampshire Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2(c). That means that you can hire an attorney to help you with one or more specific part(s) of your case while you remain self-represented in all other aspects of your case. Examples of permissible scopes of limited representation include: reviewing and/or drafting legal documents for you, helping you prepare for a hearing or mediation, and representing you at a specific hearing or mediation.
Limited representation can be especially advantageous when you have never been involved in a legal action before because you can get relevant and important legal advice and help for your case without having to spend tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees to have a lawyer see your case through to final resolution. Ignorance is not a valid, reliable defense to violations of court rules and deadlines, even if you are self-represented. Therefore, it may be helpful to your case (and wallet) in the long run to hire an attorney on a limited basis to ensure your legal rights are properly preserved and/or effectively argued at a critical court hearing.
It is important to note that, when you hire an attorney on a limited basis, the lawyer does not have to give you more help than he/she and you agreed, and the lawyer is not required to help you with any other part of your case that falls outside the specifically defined limited scope of representation. This does not mean, however, that you and the lawyer cannot later agree to have him/her fully represent you in other aspects of your case. All representation agreements are subject to change at the agreement of both you and the lawyer.
PRACTICAL TAKE-AWAY: If you ever find yourself involved in a legal action (for example, a business dispute or divorce matter), it may be advantageous to hire an attorney on a limited basis to ensure your case proceeds smoothly and/or to ensure that all legal arguments/defenses available to you are properly raised, preserved and/or effectively argued.
If you or someone you know is involved in a legal matter and wants to learn more about legal representation on a limited basis, call the Law Offices of Welts, White & Fontaine, P.C. at (603) 883-0797 to schedule an appointment today.