If you cannot afford an attorney but could use help on a few legal tasks, an
attorney may offer their services in an “unbundled capacity.” What does it mean?
When an attorney offers to help a prospective client in an unbundled capacity, they
are offering their legal services, their representation or both, on a very limited basis.
Unbundled legal representation must be memorialized in writing normally referred
to as a retainer agreement.
While some clients happily accept this concept because it may be cost-
effective, others fear the attorney may not be vested in the representation resulting
in significant legal mistakes. Over the last several years in Las Vegas, attorneys have
stepped in and out of cases resulting in a hybrid/limited representation of part
attorney and part non-attorney often leading to confusion, judicial frustration, a lack
of communication, and mistakes that cannot often be fixed after your case is over.
The truth is that no one wants to feel confused or left hanging by a lawyer
during their case, especially in Family Court! However, unbundled attorneys will
often do that to you; they will withdraw as your counsel right after their legal task is
complete. This can be overwhelming and lead to much anxiety for the litigantbecause they again are representing themselves as if they were an attorney in the
eyes of the court.1
To protect litigants such as yourself from this growing problem, the Nevada
Supreme Court adopted District Court Rule 26 effective November 1, 2022, which
now makes it much more difficult for your one-time limited attorney to leave both
you and your case at the courthouse steps. Specifically, Rule 26 applies to cases such
as divorce, annulments, domestic partnership dissolution, separate maintenance,
child custody, paternity, child support, minor name change petitions, guardianships,
and protection orders against domestic violence.
If you retain a local attorney in an unbundled capacity, it is also now more
work for the attorney. This suggests that the Nevada Legislature realized flaws in
unbundled representation and desired deterrents to prevent attorneys from taking
cases in such a capacity. Specifically, the attorney must now file a Notice of Limited
Scope Representation. If the representation was allowed at a hearing (prior to a
retainer agreement being signed), the attorney must file said notice within 48 hours
from the hearing. The notice must now list the specific services the attorney will
perform; that the opposing party or counsel is authorized to serve the limited scope
1 Nothing prevents the litigant from rehiring the unbundled lawyer for future or ongoing work;
however, there may reasons why the initial representation was limited to begin with—the lawyer
either may not have the time to dedicate to your case or may lack the legal acumen to handle your
case.party directly with pleadings; and that the opposing party or counsel may
communicate directly with the limited scope party regarding matters not associated
with the limited representation. Both the attorney and client must sign the notice to
prevent confusion. If the court deems it necessary, it may revise the limited scope
representation to conclude or resolve any matter or hearing subject to the
To ensure that you are receiving pleadings e-filed and e-served on your case,
the attorney must also register the client for the mandatory electronic service list on
the court’s e-filing system. This means you now must provide a correct e-mail
address to your attorney and check it regularly.
Unbundled attorneys will be allowed to withdraw only with the court’s
permission – this is a safeguard to avoid the litigant being left in despair. To ensure
all work was performed, attorneys now must file and serve on all parties a Notice of
Completion of Services in Limited Scope Representation stating: 1) that all services
by the agreement and the court are complete, including settlement discussion and
preparation or review of the hearing order; 2) list the specific tasks that were
completed; 3) the name of a new attorney or the party’s address, email and telephone
number if no new attorney will appear; and 4) that each party has seven days to file
an objection to the withdrawal.If any party objects to an unbundled attorney withdrawing from the case for
any reason, both an objection and a request for a hearing must be filed within seven
days. The court will then schedule a hearing to hear argument against the withdrawal.
If there are no objections, the court may grant the withdrawal request if it determines
that all limited scope services were complete.
Should the attorney be non-compliant during any part of this process, he or
she will be responsible for all aspects of the case unless the court orders otherwise.
The Court may also order sanctions or require that the party failing to comply pay
the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees.
Rule 26 was enacted to protect litigants from limited representation. The
policy behind it provides specific protocols and safeguards that govern unbundled
representation. If you are in need of legal representation, it is highly recommended
you do your own diligence when hiring an attorney.

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