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Duty of Family Law Attorneys to be Competent
Family law and divorce is an extremely specialized field. Because of the economic downturn, not to mention court closures especially in California, many civil lawyers have decided that they can make a living practicing in family court. I would always recommend that you only consider hiring a Certified Family Law Specialist. While their hourly rate may be slightly higher than a non-certified lawyer, nowhere does the rubber hit the road in people's lives more than in the arena of family law related matters and you simply cannot afford to hire competent legal council.
If you find yourself in a fee dispute, like a local bar association fee arbitration, be sure to quote Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 3-110 and ask the lawyer about their training in family law - and the continuing education courses they've taken to become proficient.
Rules of Professional Conduct
Rule 3-110 Failing to Act Competently
(A) A member shall not intentionally, recklessly, or repeatedly fail to perform legal services with competence.
(B) For purposes of this rule, "competence" in any legal service shall mean to apply the 1) diligence, 2) learning and skill, and 3) mental, emotional, and physical ability reasonably necessary for the performance of such service.
(C) If a member does not have sufficient learning and skill when the legal service is undertaken, the member may nonetheless perform such services competently by 1) associating with or, where appropriate, professionally consulting another lawyer reasonably believed to be competent, or 2) by acquiring sufficient learning and skill before performance is required.