There are many different areas of law, just like there are many different areas of medicine. Although there are generalists in both professions, many licensed attorneys and physicians choose one specific area of practice on which to focus.
Just like a doctor might focus on treating cancer or helping pregnant women, so, too, can an attorney decide to focus on personal injury law or copyright issues. Some lawyers choose to practice multiple areas of law, and there are also attorneys who dabble in a wide variety of areas, depending on what their client needs.
Unfortunately, lawyers who choose to practice numerous, disparate areas of law may not provide adequate representation to their clients. They could actually hurt their clients’ legal situations.
Depth of knowledge is crucial in court
Someone with a keen intellect can apply their mental acuity to learning a little bit about many different things or as much as possible about one or two certain things. When it comes to a knowledge-based and detail-oriented career like working as an attorney, having deep knowledge of one area will often benefit clients more than topical knowledge in numerous legal areas.
An attorney who is only vaguely familiar with state drug possession laws might not know about important recent rulings that helped establish crucial precedent. They may not know enough about the actual legal code either.
Thorough knowledge not only of state law but also of previous court rulings is necessary for an attorney to adequately advise their clients and help them manage their issues in court. An attorney who dabbles in many areas of law may make a mistake that someone was more specialized knowledge would not make.
Lawyers who dabble may eventually commit legal malpractice
When you hire a lawyer, you should be able to trust them to understand the law that applies to your situation and to help you secure the best possible outcome. An attorney without specific knowledge in the area of law in which you need help may fail in their representation of you.
If your lawyer made a mistake in court or while advising you that another attorney in the same area of law would not make, their actions may constitute legal malpractice. Those who have lost court cases because of a dabbling attorney may be able to bring a malpractice claim against their former lawyer or their professional insurance.
Recognizing dabbling as a common cause of legal malpractice can help you fight back after inadequate representation affected your legal situation.