As an accompaniment to the surge of litigation, we have also witnessed an increase in the claims of ineffective representation by counsel. As more and more litigants are called upon to respond to such claims, the appellate courts have been forced to delineate a basic threshold of competence. Not only is the standard by which counsel is deemed effective or ineffective constantly changing, but also decisions of the higher courts have been devoid of a guideline through which future problems may be anticipated. The review of case law below traces the evolution of both state and federal decisions during approximately the past fifteen years in an attempt to demonstrate the manner in which such claims are resolved.

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