Rule 1.1. Competence.
Alawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competentrepresentation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness andpreparation reasonably necessary for the representation.
LegalKnowledge and Skill
In determining whether a lawyer employs the requisite knowledge and skill in aparticular matter, relevant factors include the relative complexity andspecialized nature of the matter, the lawyer's general experience, the lawyer'straining and experience in the field in question, the preparation and study thelawyer is able to give the matter and whether it is feasible to refer thematter to, or associate or consult with, a lawyer of established competence inthe field in question. In many instances, the required proficiency is that of ageneral practitioner. Expertise in a particular field of law may be required insome circumstances.
A lawyer need not necessarily have special training or prior experience tohandle legal problems of a type with which the lawyer is unfamiliar. A newlyadmitted lawyer can be as competent as a practitioner with long experience.Some important legal skills, such as the analysis of precedent, the evaluationof evidence and legal drafting, are required in all legal problems. Perhaps themost fundamental legal skill consists of determining what kind of legalproblems a situation may involve, a skill that necessarily transcends anyparticular specialized knowledge. A lawyer can provide adequate representationin a wholly novel field through necessary study. Competent representation canalso be provided through the association of a lawyer of established competencein the field in question.
In an emergency a lawyer may give advice or assistance in a matter in which thelawyer does not have the skill ordinarily required where referral to orconsultation or association with another lawyer would be impractical. Even inan emergency, however, assistance should be limited to that reasonablynecessary in the circumstances, for ill-considered action under emergencyconditions can jeopardize the client's interest.
A lawyer may accept representation where the requisite level of competence canbe achieved by reasonable preparation. This applies as well to a lawyer who isappointed as counsel for an unrepresented person. See also Rule 6.2.
Competent handling of a particular matter includes inquiry into and analysis ofthe factual and legal elements of the problem and use of methods and proceduresmeeting the standards of competent practitioners. It also includes adequatepreparation. The required attention and preparation are determined in part bywhat is at stake; major litigation and complex transactions ordinarily requiremore extensive treatment than matters of lesser complexity and consequence. Anagreement between the lawyer and the client regarding the scope of therepresentation may limit the matters for which the lawyer is responsible. SeeRule 1.2(c).
Retainingor Contracting With Other Lawyers
Before a lawyer retains or contracts with other lawyers outside the lawyer'sown firm to provide or assist in the provision of legal services to a client,the lawyer should ordinarily obtain informed consent from the client and mustreasonably believe that the other lawyers' services will contribute to thecompetent and ethical representation of the client. The reasonableness of thedecision to retain or contract with other lawyers outside the lawyer's own firmwill depend upon the circumstances, including the education, experience andreputation of the nonfirm lawyers; the nature of the services assigned to thenonfirm lawyers; and the legal protections, professional conduct rules, andethical environments of the jurisdictions in which the services will beperformed, particularly relating to confidential information.
When lawyers from more than one law firm are providing legal services to theclient on a particular matter, the lawyers ordinarily should consult with eachother and the client about the scope of their respective representations andthe allocation of responsibility among them. See Rule 1.2. When makingallocations of responsibility in a matter pending before a tribunal, lawyersand parties may have additional obligations that are a matter of law beyond thescope of these Rules.
To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast ofchanges in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risksassociated with relevant technology, engage in continuing study and educationand comply with all continuing legal education requirements to which the lawyeris subject.