Faculty Scholarship

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In these difficult economic times, more litigants are attempting to handle their lawsuits without hiring attorneys. Even without seeking formal representation, these pro se litigants may want some assistance from attorneys. This advice seeking may be especially prevalent in the area ofnegotiation where no formalized procedures are in place but where the consequences of an inadequate settlement are disastrous for the self-represented Attorneys may want to assist pro se litigants in their negotiations but feel reluctant to do soforfear of triggering an attorney-client relationship and its accompanying malpractice exposure. Attorneys who are reluctant to give informal advice to pro se litigants may instead offer a limited scope arrangement in which pro se litigants hire attorneys for the limited task of conducting a negotiation session. Alternatively, attorneys may agree to provide clients with free representationf or the duration of their lawsuit, thus, these pro se litigants become pro bono clients. This article will define the relationship and potential ethical and malpractice concerns between an attorney and a pro se, limited scope, and pro bono client. This article will also offer practical guidelines to attorneys so they are aware of such issues and may feel confident in assisting these needy clients.

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