Proposal to Facilitate Limited Representation in Illinois Courts

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Author: Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois
Last updated: July 2010

Effective January, 1, 2010, Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2(c) allows Illinois lawyers to limit the scope of their representation:

“A lawyer may limit the scope of representation if the limitation is reasonable under the circumstances and the client gives informed consent.”

Under the rule, lawyers may provide legal services on a standalone basis, performing discrete tasks for clients instead of providing the full range of services contained in a traditional representation. This increases business opportunities for lawyers and provides a tool for meeting the needs of the growing number of people currently facing legal problems without representation.

However, neither Rule 1.2(c) nor Illinois’ procedural rules define how lawyers should provide limited representation in the context of litigation. Proposed changes to the rules of practice would enable lawyers to provide limited representation in the courts, and establish guidelines for that type of representation.

Read the proposal here.

What is proposed?

  • Limited representation appearances: Supreme Court Rule 13 would be amended to allow lawyers to make limited representation appearances in court proceedings and provide clear procedures for lawyers to withdraw after completing the representation.
  • Document preparation: Supreme Court Rule 137 would be amended to allow lawyers to help pro se litigants prepare pleadings, motions and other documents, and establish guidelines for doing so.
  • Service guidelines: Supreme Court Rule 11 would be amended to clarify when a lawyer providing limited representation to a client must be served by the other party or counsel.
  • Communications: Rule of Professional Conduct 4.2 would be amended to clarify when a lawyer may communicate with a party represented by counsel on a limited basis.


 This article, published in the April 2010 edition of the CBA Record, examines the need for limited representation in Illinois courts and the experience in other states.

Overview of limited representation rules in other states – Take a look at the key rule provisions in the 18 states that allow limited representation in the courts.

Limited Scope Representation in the Courts – What are the imperatives for bringing limited scope representation into Illinois courtrooms?

Questions? Visit the Q&A page.


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