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Attorneys may commit malpractice when working in new areas of law

Professional malpractice can occur in many different fields. Licensed professionals who perform important services for their clients sometimes fail to meet their needs. Those who hire lawyers, for example, are often facing potentially life-altering conflicts. They may need an attorney’s guidance and advice to defend against criminal allegations, put together an effective lawsuit or negotiate a contract. There is a general expectation that a licensed legal professional will be competent and will put the needs of their clients before their own desires.

Unfortunately, not every attorney successfully meets those standards. One of the many ways a lawyer can provide a poor level of representation to clients involves taking on a case outside of their area of expertise.

Lawyers specialize for a reason

Practicing law is a challenge because every case is inherently unique. A lawyer needs to understand state statutes. They also need to understand how to research legal issues and review the existing precedent for certain types of cases.

An attorney familiar with drug offenses and drunk driving defense would likely not be the best candidate to represent someone accused of embezzlement or violent crimes. They likely need to refer such cases to someone with the right experience or bring in outside help to ensure  their client receives the standard of representation they deserve.

Those seeking to branch into new areas of the law often need training and experience before they can offer a professional standard of representation in those new areas to clients. Some lawyers may take on cases for which they have no applicable experience. They might then fail their clients by not understanding the relevant laws or prior court rulings that could influence the outcome of the case.

Connecting an attorney’s lack of experience to an unfavorable outcome might successfully inspire victims of malpractice to take action after a lawyer’s failures affect their lives negatively.