Foster’s savors “a la carte lawyering” in NH


 waiterTrayG An editorial in Sunday’s Foster’s Daily (Dover, NH) gives a good review to the new “limited litigation” rules for New Hampshire lawyers, which took effect on July 1. (“À la carte lawyering an important step toward affordable justice,” Dec. 3, 2006)  Noting that the Supreme Court decided to allow “a la carte lawyering” in response to “a sharp rise in do-it-yourself lawyering” and “the enormous hourly rates charged by many lawyers,” the piece summarizes the advantages and potential pitfalls of unbundled litigation.   It also describes a report done for the judiciary that calls for making courts “more user-friendly,” and changing the attitudes of some judges and court staffs, who seem to “resent civilians.”   This excellent editorial concludes:

“At least now litigants have the option of working with their lawyer to save money and learn more about the judicial system while they are at it.  That should, in the long run, serve well the judicial system and the general public by demystifying the process and lowering costs.”

Note: Rule 1.2 (f) of the N.H. Rules of Professional Conduct sets forth the lawyer’s obligations when engaging in Limited Representation in Litigation, and (g) offers a Sample Form “Consent to Limited Represenation,” as a guide for client and lawyer.

waiterTray As discussed at f/k/a, the New Hampshire judiciary published a first-rate report on the needs of pro se litigants in January, 2004. Called Challenge to Justice (Jan. 2004), it is notable for both its positive tone and thorough approach to helping the pro se litigant.  A key concept is summarized in two sentences: “All of the suggestions within this report however, are grounded on the single principle that meaningful access to justice in today’s world means a clear recognition by those involved in the system that many of our constituents want to go it alone when they come to court. Our obligation is to give these citizens the help they want, need and deserve. ” (emphasis added)

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