August 1, 2006 March 1, 2016
RULE 1.1 COMPETENCE
1 A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation
2 requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary
3 for the representation.
5 Legal Knowledge and Skill
6  In determining whether a lawyer employs the requisite knowledge and skill in a
7 particular matter, relevant factors include the relative complexity and specialized nature
8 of the matter, the lawyer's general experience, the lawyer's training and experience in the
9 field in question, the preparation and study the lawyer is able to give the matter and
10 whether it is feasible to refer the matter to, or associate or consult with, a lawyer of
11 established competence in the field in question.
12  A lawyer need not necessarily have special training or prior experience to handle legal
13 problems of a type unfamiliar to the lawyer. A newly admitted lawyer can be as
14 competent as a practitioner with long experience. Some important legal skills, such as the
15 analysis of precedent, the evaluation of evidence and legal drafting, are required in all
16 legal representations. Perhaps the most fundamental legal skill consists of determining
17 what kind of legal problems a situation may involve, a skill that necessarily transcends
18 any particular specialized knowledge. A lawyer can provide adequate representation in a
19 wholly novel field through necessary study. Competent representation can also be
20 provided through the association of a lawyer of established competence in the field in
22  In an emergency, a lawyer may give advice or assistance in a matter in which the
23 lawyer does not have the skill ordinarily required to competently represent the client
24 without violating these Rules. The definition of an emergency depends upon all of the
25 circumstances surrounding the request for advice or assistance and the lawyer's decision
26 to accept representation. Relevant circumstances include, but are not limited to (a) the
27 client's past relationship with the lawyer; (b) the practicality, considering the means of the
28 client to refer to, consult with or associate with another lawyer; (c) the matter upon which
29 advice is requested; (d) the time and location of the contact with the lawyer; (e) whether
30 the lawyer has been asked to render immediate services; and (f) whether the lawyer
31 reasonably determined that legal services were immediately required. Even in an
32 emergency, however, assistance should be limited to that reasonably necessary in the
33 circumstances, for ill considered action under emergency conditions can jeopardize the
34 client's interest.
35  A lawyer may accept representation where the requisite level of competence can be
36 achieved by reasonable preparation.
37  To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer must keep abreast of changes
38 in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant
39 technology, engage in continuing study and education and comply with all continuing
40 legal education requirements.
41 Thoroughness and Preparation
42  Competent handling of a particular matter includes inquiry into and analysis of the
43 factual and legal elements of the problem, and use of methods and procedures meeting the
44 standards of competent practitioners. It also includes adequate preparation. The required
45 attention and preparation are determined in part by what is at stake; major litigation and
46 complex transactions ordinarily require more extensive treatment than matters of lesser
47 consequence. An agreement between the lawyer and the client regarding the scope of the
48 representation may limit the matters for which the lawyer is responsible. See Rule 1.2( c).
49 Retaining or Contracting With Other Lawyers
50  Before a lawyer retains or contracts with other lawyers outside the lawyer's own firm
51 to provide or assist in the provision of legal services to a client, the lawyer should
52 ordinarily obtain consent from the client and must reasonably believe that the other
53 lawyers' services will contribute to the competent and ethical representation of the client.
54 See also Rules 1.2 (allocation of authority), 1.4 (communication with client), 1.5(e) (fee
55 sharing), 1.6 (confidentiality), and 5.5(a) (unauthorized practice of law). The
56 reasonableness of the decision to retain or contract with other lawyers outside the
57 lawyer's own firm will depend upon the circumstances, including the education,
58 experience and reputation of the nonfirm lawyers; the nature of the services assigned to
59 the nonfirm lawyers; and the legal protections, professional conduct rules, and ethical
60 environments of the jurisdictions in which the services will be performed, particularly
61 relating to confidential information.
62  When lawyers from more than one law firm are providing legal services to the client
63 on a particular matter, the lawyers ordinarily should consult with each other and the client
64 about the scope of their respective representations and the allocation of responsibility
65 among them. See Rule 1.2. When making allocations of responsibility in a matter
66 pending before a tribunal, lawyers and parties may have additional obligations that are a
67 matter of law beyond the scope of these Rules.
68 Rule 1.1 was amended effective 08/01/06, 03/01/16 .
69 Reference: Minutes of the Professional Conduct Subcommittee of the Attorney Standards
70 Committee on 09/29/83, 09/20/85 and 01/31/86; Minutes of the Joint Committee on
71 Attorney Standards on 11/19/04, 06/14/05, 09/13/13, 09/12/14.