One of the things you should do when you decide to work with an attorney is to check that they are educated in the area of law that you need help with. An attorney who works in real estate may not be educated in family law, and one who works with business litigation may not work on personal injury claims. It’s your responsibility, as well as theirs, to make sure that your needs and their skills add up.
Among the issues that clients of attorneys sometimes run into is a thing called “dabbling.” Dabbling is when an attorney is inexperienced in an area but chooses to work on a case in that area anyway. Essentially, they’re testing the waters in this new area, and the client is the one who could suffer as a result.
Why do some attorneys dabble in areas that aren’t in their areas of expertise?
Some attorneys dabble as a way to bring in new clients. Others may overestimate their abilities and end up dealing with an area of law that they are not as familiar with as they thought.
If any attorney runs into a problem where they aren’t familiar with the laws or processes involved in a case, they have a few options. One is to let the client know that they are not familiar and want to release the case. Another is to pass the case on to another attorney at the same firm who is familiar with that area of law. A third may be to bring in expert help on the case. If they don’t take action, the attorney could later find themselves accused of legal malpractice.
What should you do to make sure your attorney can do what they offer?
Dabbling can be a big issue for clients who are hoping to win a lawsuit. When you talk to an attorney about your case, don’t just go by what’s on their website. Ask them what their areas of expertise are and which areas they do work in, not just what areas they could work in. You’re paying for someone’s experience, so you should take time to verify that their experience is in the right area of law.