Trial Court Rules

Trial Court Rules Trial Court Rule XVI: Uniform Rule on Limited Assistance Representation

Adopted Date: 11/29/2018
Effective Date: 02/01/2019
Updates: Approved November 29, 2018, effective February 1, 2019

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Table of Contents

1. Limited assistance representation

Limited Assistance Representation (LAR) permits an attorney to represent a party in a non-criminal action for discrete, limited purposes, if the limitation is reasonable under the circumstances and the client gives informed consent. LAR allows an attorney to withdraw from representation afters/he completes the agreed upon limited services. Before representing a client in an LAR matter, an attorney shall give a prospective client a written agreement that clearly and precisely states the scope of representation. The attorney shall review the written agreement with the client before it is signed and obtain the client's informed consent. Both the attorney and the client shall sign the agreement. An LAR attorney may appear on a compensated or an uncompensated basis.

2. Applicability

This Rule applies to any Limited Assistance Representation of a party in a non-criminal action in any Trial Court department, provided it shall not apply to Juvenile Court unless adopted by Juvenile Court.

3. Attorney qualification

To qualify as an LAR attorney, an attorney must complete training, as provided for in the Uniform Protocol for Limited Assistance Representation Training in the Massachusetts Trial Court. An attorney must certify that s/he is LAR-qualified on the court-approved Notice of Limited Appearance.

4. Notice of limited appearance

Before representing a client in an LAR matter, an LAR attorney must file a Notice of Limited Appearance on a form approved by the Chief Justice of the Trial Court and shall serve the Notice on all parties in compliance with applicable rules and paragraph 6 below. The Notice of Limited Appearance shall state precisely the discrete event( s) and/ or discrete issue(s) for which the LAR attorney will represent the client. An LAR attorney may file a new or a revised Notice of Limited Appearance during or after the previously agreed upon events and/ or issues. Both the LAR attorney and the client must sign each Notice of Limited Appearance. If an LAR attorney files a pleading, motion or other document and/ or argues a legal issue outside the scope of a filed Notice of Limited Appearance, then the court may require the filing of a new Notice of Limited Appearance. If the LAR attorney thereafter fails to do so, the court may consider the LAR attorney to have entered a general appearance.

5. Notice of withdrawal of limited appearance

Upon completion of all events or issues for which an LAR attorney has filed a Notice of Limited Appearance, s/he shall serve and file a Notice of Withdrawal of Limited Appearance on a form approved by the Chief Justice of the Trial Court. A Notice of Withdrawal must be filed for each Notice of Limited Appearance. The attorney must sign the Notice of Withdrawal. A Notice of Withdrawal filed and served in compliance with this paragraph and paragraph 6 below is effective upon filing. No motion to withdraw under Mass. R. Civ. P. 11(c) is required. The Court may treat the attorney as appearing for the client until the attorney files a Notice of Withdrawal, even if the events or issues covered by the limited representation have concluded. In such instances, the Court also may order the attorney to file a Notice of Withdrawal. If any other party incurs costs or is otherwise prejudiced by the attorney's failure to file a Notice of Withdrawal, then upon motion the court for good cause may order a non-punitive remedy, including compensation for fees and costs reasonably incurred.

6. Service

An LAR attorney who files a Notice of Limited Appearance, including a new or revised Notice of Limited Appearance, and/ or Notice of Withdrawal of Limited Appearance.shall serve a copy of each Notice, with a certificate of service, upon each opposing party's attorney or, if a party is not represented by an attorney, on that party.

Whenever service is required or permitted to be made upon a party who has an LAR attorney, for all matters within the scope of the Notice of Limited Appearance, service shall be made upon both the LAR attorney and the party. Service of the party should be made at the address listed for the party in the Notice of Limited Appearance. If the party's address has been impounded by court order or rule, service of the party shall be made as set out in the court order or rule. Service upon an LAR attorney is not required for matters outside the scope of the Notice of Limited Appearance.

7. Filings shall state LAR appearance

An LAR attorney must comply with Mass. R. Civ. P. 11 (a) when filing any pleading, motion or other document in the course of her/his limited appearance and shall state in bold type on the signature page of the document,  "Attorney of [party] for the limited purpose of [ court event or issue]."

8. Court notice

Whenever a clerk, recorder, or register is required to provide notice where a party is represented by an LAR attorney, s/he shall provide notice to the party and to the LAR attorney unless the LAR attorney has filed a Notice of Withdrawal of Appearance.

9. Assisting a party to prepare court documents

An attorney may assist a party in preparing a pleading, motion or any other document that the party will sign and file in court. In assisting the preparation of any such pleading, motion or other document, the attorney shall insert the notation "prepared with assistance of counsel." Assisting a party with this type of document preparation does not constitute a general or limited appearance of the attorney. The party remains responsible to the court and other parties for all statements in any pleading, motion, or other document prepared but not signed by an attorney.

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