This article first appeared in the NY Business Law Journal in November 2012.
When venturing into areas of law outside their usual practice, attorneys should be mindful of state-specific standards to which they are held. Rule 3-110 of the California Rules of Professional Conduct sets the standard on the west coast, just as Rule 1.1 of the New York Rules of Professional Conduct applies on the east. Absent the requisite skill to accommodate a client’s needs, an attorney may still engage and adhere to the statutory definition of competence by “associating with or, where appropriate, professionally consulting another lawyer reasonably believed to be competent” or “by acquiring sufficient learning and skill before performance is required.” In 2003, a California Appellate Court explained: “Attorneys are expected ‘to possess knowledge of those plain and elementary principles of law which are commonly known by well informed attorneys, and to discover those additional rules of law which, although not commonly known, may readily be found by standard research techniques.’”
However, due to the sheer volume and complexity of information generated regularly in the wake of reform, modern health care law exists in a league of its own. … Read more →