Many law firms advertise as being ‘general practice’ firms, able to handle a variety of legal issues for their clients. While there is nothing unusual about this, problems may arise when a lawyer or law firm takes on a new matter in a practice area they are unfamiliar with.
This frequently occurs when an existing client has a need for assistance in a new area of law. The attorney, not wanting to lose the client or eager to earn an extra fee, takes on the new matter even though he has no experience in the area of law in question. Being unfamiliar with the new area of law, the attorney is far more likely to make critical mistakes that cost his client.
Just because an attorney hasn’t worked in an area of law before does not mean he is not competent to handle the matter. Attorneys can provide competent representation in a new area through partnering with other lawyers, researching the new area of law, or by devoting additional time to the representation.
Some lawyers, however, do not put forth this additional effort and simply ‘wing it’. Doing so puts their client at great risk, and may be grounds for a legal malpractice claim if the client’s case is compromised. When the lawyer is paid hourly, there is a risk that the client is bearing the cost of the lawyer ‘learning on the job’ through higher fees.
If the lawyer you hired to handle your case is working outside of their area of expertise, and you believe your case has been compromised as a result, call our office today to discuss your potential legal malpractice case and your options for recovery.