As I’ve mentioned throughout this website, attorneys vary widely in their specializations. For an analogy, suppose you’re getting ready to hire a surgeon to operate on your brain. Would you rather hire a neurologist, who specializes in the study of the brain, or would you rather hire an orthopedist, who instead has specialized in setting broken bones? The choice is obvious.
Unfortunately, the choice is often not quite so obvious in the legal field. And, just as all doctors must have a strong general understanding of the human body, so too must lawyers have a competent general understanding of the law. But beyond that general understanding, some degree of specialization is a virtual requirement for a lawyer to excel at her or his practice.
As a lawyer, friends and acquaintances routinely ask me pointed legal questions in narrow topics that I simply don’t have an answer for because it’s not in my area of expertise. As a civil litigator, if a friend called me from a jail cell, I would have no idea where to even begin in order to help him out! I would tell him to call a criminal defense attorney.
So, what can you do to ensure that the lawyer you hire has the right expertise? First, take the time to explore that lawyer’s website. Lawyers will tell you about their areas of expertise on these sites, and they may also provide a number of blogs that provide insights. Next, ask the lawyer directly to tell you about their experiences with this area of the law and see what they say. Then, question the lawyer relentlessly about the legal problem you have as early on in the process as possible.
Now, just because a lawyer is inexperienced in an area of the law does not necessarily mean you shouldn’t hire him/her, provided the following: First, that lawyer should be up front with you about his or her inexperience in the field; and second, that lawyer should have an experienced mentor on hand whom they can consult with for complicated questions about your matter. If this lawyer is otherwise straightforward, communicative, and demonstrates high competence, then this may be the right choice for you, after all. In fact, you may save money because this lawyer is probably not going to charge as much as the experienced hand.
If you have a civil litigation matter or business-related matter, then our law firm might actually be the right choice for you. Give Asheville Legal a call today in order to determine if your legal matter is one we can help you with.