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Rule 1.1.Competence.

A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client.Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, andpreparation reasonably necessary for the representation, and, for licensedparalegal practitioners, a determination of whether a matter should be referredto a lawyer licensed to provide legal services without restrictions orlimitations.

 

Comment

Legal Knowledge and Skill

[1] In determining whethera lawyer employs the requisite knowledge and skill in a particular matter,relevant factors include the relative complexity and specialized nature of thematter, the lawyer's general experience, the lawyer's training and experiencein the field in question, the preparation and study the lawyer is able to givethe matter and whether it is feasible to refer the matter to, or associate orconsult with, a lawyer of established competence in the field in question. Inmany instances, the required proficiency is that of a general practitioner.Expertise in a particular field of law may be required in some circumstances.

[2] A lawyer need notnecessarily have special training or prior experience to handle legal problemsof a type with which the lawyer is unfamiliar. A newly admitted lawyer can beas competent as a practitioner with long experience. Some important legalskills, such as the analysis of precedent, the evaluation of evidence and legaldrafting, are required in all legal problems. Perhaps the most fundamentallegal skill consists of determining what kind of legal problems a situation mayinvolve, a skill that necessarily transcends any particular specializedknowledge. A lawyer can provide adequate representation in a wholly novel fieldthrough necessary study. Competent representation can also be provided throughthe association of a lawyer of established competence in the field in question.

[3] In an emergency alawyer may give advice or assistance in a matter in which the lawyer does nothave the skill ordinarily required where referral to or consultation orassociation with another lawyer would be impractical. Even in an emergency,however, assistance should be limited to that reasonably necessary in thecircumstances, for ill-considered action under emergency conditions canjeopardize the client's interest.

[4] A lawyer may acceptrepresentation where the requisite level of competence can be achieved byreasonable preparation. This applies as well to a lawyer who is appointed ascounsel for an unrepresented person. See also Rule 6.2.

 

Thoroughness and Preparation

[5] Competent handling of aparticular matter includes inquiry into and analysis of the factual and legalelements of the problem and use of methods and procedures meeting the standardsof competent practitioners. It also includes adequate preparation. The requiredattention and preparation are determined in part by what is at stake; majorlitigation and complex transactions ordinarily require more extensive treatmentthan matters of lesser complexity and consequence. An agreement between thelawyer and the client regarding the scope of the representation may limit thematters for which the lawyer is responsible. See Rule 1.2(c).

 

Retaining or Contracting With Other Lawyers

[6] Before a lawyer retainsor contracts with other lawyers outside the lawyer's own firm to provide orassist in the provision of legal services to a client, the lawyer shouldordinarily obtain informed consent from the client and must reasonably believethat the other lawyers' services will contribute to the competent and ethicalrepresentation of the client. The reasonableness of the decision to retain orcontract with other lawyers outside the lawyer's own firm will depend upon thecircumstances, including the education, experience and reputation of the nonfirm lawyers; the nature of the services assigned to thenonfirm lawyers; and the legal protections,professional conduct rules, and ethical environments of the jurisdictions inwhich the services will be performed, particularly relating to confidentialinformation.

[7] When lawyers from morethan one law firm are providing legal services to the client on a particularmatter, the lawyers ordinarily should consult with each other and the clientabout the scope of their respective representations and the allocation ofresponsibility among them. See Rule 1.2. When making allocations ofresponsibility in a matter pending before a tribunal, lawyers and parties mayhave additional obligations that are a matter of law beyond the scope of theseRules.

 

Maintaining Competence

[8] To maintain therequisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in thelaw and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevanttechnology, engage in continuing study and education and comply with all continuinglegal education requirements to which the lawyer is subject.

[8a] This rule differs fromthe ABA Model Rule.

 

Effective May 1, 2021.