RULE 19-301.1. COMPETENCE (1.1)
West's Annotated Code of MarylandMaryland Rules
MD Rules Attorneys, Rule 19-301.1
RULE 19-301.1. COMPETENCE (1.1)
An attorney shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.
Legal knowledge and skill-- In determining whether an attorney employs the requisite knowledge and skill in a particular matter, relevant factors include the relative complexity and specialized nature of the matter, the attorney's general experience, the attorney's training and experience in the field in question, the preparation and study the attorney is able to give the matter and whether it is feasible to refer the matter to, or associate or consult with, an attorney of established competence in the field in question. In many instances, the required proficiency is that of a general practitioner. Expertise in a particular field of law may be required in some circumstances.
 An attorney need not necessarily have special training or prior experience to handle legal problems of a type with which the attorney is unfamiliar. A newly admitted attorney can be as competent as a practitioner with long experience. Some important legal skills, such as the analysis of precedent, the evaluation of evidence and legal drafting, are required in all legal problems. Perhaps the most fundamental legal skill consists of determining what kind of legal problems a situation may involve, a skill that necessarily transcends any particular specialized knowledge. An attorney can provide adequate representation in a wholly novel field through necessary study. Competent representation can also be provided through the association of an attorney of established competence in the field in question.
 In an emergency an attorney may give advice or assistance in a matter in which the attorney does not have the skill ordinarily required where referral to or consultation or association with another attorney would be impractical. Even in an emergency, however, assistance should be limited to that reasonably necessary in the circumstances, for ill-considered action under emergency conditions can jeopardize the client's interest.
 An attorney may accept representation where the requisite level of competence can be achieved by reasonable preparation. This applies as well to an attorney who is appointed as an attorney for an unrepresented person. See also Rule 19-306.2 (6.2).
Thoroughness and preparation-- Competent handling of a particular matter includes inquiry into and analysis of the factual and legal elements of the problem, and use of methods and procedures meeting the standards of competent practitioners. It also includes adequate preparation. The required attention and preparation are determined in part by what is at stake; major litigation and complex transactions ordinarily require more extensive treatment than matters of lesser complexity. An agreement between the attorney and the client regarding the scope of the representation may limit the matters for which the attorney is responsible. See Rule 19-301.2 (c) (1.2).
Maintaining competence-- To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, an attorney should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, engage in continuing study and education and comply with all continuing legal education requirements to which the attorney is subject.
Model Rules Comparison: Rule 19-301.1 (1.1) is substantially similar to the language of the Ethics 2000 Amendments to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct.
[Adopted June 6, 2016, eff. July 1, 2016.]
MD R Attorneys, Rule 19-301.1, MD R ATTORNEYS Rule 19-301.1
Current with amendments received through April 1, 2020.
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