Working as an attorney sometimes puts professionals in a complicated position. Most attorneys have a general practice where they work in multiple areas of law, but they likely have one area where they specialize. At the same time, attorneys need to develop ongoing relationships with clients in order to have referrals to new cases and ongoing work as clients from previous situations need new services.
This can put you in a difficult situation, particularly if you don't have experience in the area of law where a former client needs help. If a client for whom you created an estate plan comes to you with a serious personal injury claim, you probably don't want to turn them away. However, you can't necessarily provide the best possible representation on your own.
Because you have a fiduciary duty to your client to put their interests first, working with an outside consultant could be the best way to handle the situation.
Consulting with another attorney gives you broader expertise
Your clients come back to you because they trust you and know that you did a great job the first time you represented them. You can represent them for a personal injury case even if you are unfamiliar with this area of law, provided that you don't fail to uphold your fiduciary duty to your clients.
They trust you to give them the best level of representation possible, and stumbling your way through an unfamiliar area of law could potentially be a violation of that duty of trust to your client.
Consulting with an attorney who is familiar with handling this exact kind of case is the ideal solution. Your clients get to work with a lawyer they trust personally and know is competent, while you receive the advice and expertise of an attorney more familiar with this particular area of law.
Depending on your circumstances, you may want to introduce your clients to the secondary attorney, particularly if you want them to come to court with you. Other times, these attorneys can simply help you during the process of researching precedent and building a case on behalf of your client.
It is always better to over-prepare than to do a poor job for a client
Consulting with an outside attorney can seem like an unnecessary step or extra stress in what is already a time-consuming and expensive career to maintain. However, you don't want to damage your reputation by providing your client with lackluster legal representation or worse, turning them away in their hour of need.
An outside consultation and the support of an attorney familiar with North Carolina personal injury cases can help you keep your clients happy and give them the best possible representation for their situation. Our firm has experience partnering with other attorneys who need help building a case for a client with a serious personal injury claim.