The duty of competence involves representing clients competently, that is, with the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation reasonably necessary for representation. Often breaches of the duty of competence result from inadequate research, missed deadlines, and including erroneous information in a legal document that is filed with the court.
Ways to avoid violations of the duty of competence include the following:
Keeping careful notes of steps taken in research and updating all research.
Employing organizational techniques, such as using a calendar or tickler system consistently.
Asking the supervising attorney for special instructions when uncertain about what to include in a document or how extensively to research an issue.
Obtaining adequate attorney supervision
Paralegals may obtain adequate supervision by:
Communicating with the supervising attorney.
Asking the supervising attorney for feedback on the paralegal's work.