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posted in Wilka, Welter & Ash LLP Law Blog.
Lawyer Specialties: How Does that Really Work?
The prevalence of lawyers who advertise for specific case types often gives people the impression that the legal profession is segmented much like the medical profession. While attorneys often focus on one or two kinds of cases, there is actually an important difference between them and doctors. This is that the license for practicing law is just that: A law license rather than a case-specific one.
For this reason, it’s not uncommon for someone who advertises as a child custody lawyer in Sioux Falls to take on an assortment of other case types. The attorney is actually qualified to handle all cases, and often, ads for one type are done simply to let people know that they have certain openings in their schedules. That said, it’s common for lawyers to stick to one or two “constellations” of case types because this allows them to streamline their operations.
Specialization allows for streamlining in a few important ways. One is that research into case law – often needed for complex cases – can be used multiple times when the same type of case comes up over and over again. Another benefit is that it allows attorneys to develop relationships with the judges and staff at specific courts. In some courts, familiar lawyers are assigned blocks of docket time that allow them to handle one client after another all on the same day. This speeds things up for the courts, the attorneys, and their clients.
Because of these things, it’s often worthwhile for an attorney to advertise as a specialist even though a law license places no restrictions on his or her practice. Law firms that handle multiple case types often do so by hiring a group of lawyers who each offer different focuses. Therefore, it’s not unusual to find a workers’ compensation lawyer in Sioux Falls practicing alongside the family law attorney mentioned earlier.
We hope this clears up some of the confusion that arises in the area of legal advertising and licensing. To meet with an attorney who focuses on the type of case that concerns you, just give us a call. We’re Wilka & Welter, LLP, and together, our attorneys have over 40 years of experience handling cases of all types.