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One time attorney

Miami, FL |
Filed under: Professional ethics

Are there attorneys that work on an as needed basis. For instance, I have a hearing coming up and will like to be represented just for that. I will like an attorney to do this but only for just this job. Are there attorneys that do such a thing?

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Attorney answers 3


Yes, if the retainer agreement provides for that and the attorney agrees. However, depending on the type of matter (for instance criminal matters), it may be difficult for the attorney to withdraw without the court's approval and so there may have to be some steps taken so that a motion to a consent to change of attorneys to you going it alone after the hearing can be made, or the attorney can make it clear to the forum or other parties that he's appearing for you on a one shot basis.

Some attorneys may be reluctant to go represent you on this basis, or get into the matter without doing some "due diligence" that their representations on your behalf do not violate ethical or court rules (i.e., aren't frivolous, or without basis or intended simply to delay, harass or annoy the Court or other parties).

But, yes, especially in these days of widespread economic hardship and distress in the practice of law as well as many other businesses, you should be able to find an attorney who is willing to do "limited scope representation" so long as the terms are defined and transparent to you and him/her, the other parties and the forum (which might, however, affect your negotiating position if other people know the attorney is not going to be involved beyond this one hearing).

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Jack Richard Lebowitz

Jack Richard Lebowitz


One exception to this which I have however seen is some of the highly publicized law firms which are doing questionable mortgage foreclosures by the thousands based on possibly false affidavits and "robosigning". Sometimes the state Attorney Generals or Banking Commissions will investigate those lawfirms if they become notorious or newsworthy.

Jack Richard Lebowitz

Jack Richard Lebowitz


Sorry, the above comment was misposted and intended to be an answer to the asker in GA which asked whether the State Bar investigates "law firms" which file meritless lawsuits on their own initiatives.


The only thing that I would add to previous counsel's excellent answer is that some judges do not tend to like limited notices of appearance, and sometimes will file them as regular notices of appearance. Making sure that the lawyer you hire is knowledgeable of the courts in your area is especially important for a limited appearance.

This posting is for informational purposes only. Answering this question does not constitute forming a lawyer/client relationship. For more complete advice, specialized to your situation and locality, consult a lawyer from that state.


I am sure there are attorneys who would contract to do one hearing. The Court would have to be informed the attorney is withdrawling his appearance after the hearing.

Jonathan N. Portner, Esquire, Portner & Shure, P.A. Maryland and Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys. This response is general information and not legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This response should not be relied upon. Please note that no attorney-client relationship exists between the sender and the recipient of this message in the absence of either (1) a signed fee contract and (2) remission of an agreed-upon retainer. Absent such an agreement and retainer, I am not engaged by you as an attorney, nor is any other member of my law firm

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