Are you paying close attention to the websites of Rhode Island lawyers who state that they specialize in a particular area of law. A proper website for lawyers claiming to specialize in any area of law should include a statement similar to the following:
The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers in the general practice of law. There is no recognition of specialty and no testing or certification in Rhode Island to become recognized as a specialist in any area of law.
So how can it be that Rhode Island lawyers can call themselves "specialists" or indicate in advertising that they specialize in any area of law when they are licensed only as general practitioners by the State of Rhode Island.
Is this a trick? Are Rhode Island lawyers duping you into thinking they are specialists when they aren't? How can you tell who is telling you the truth and who isn't? How can you tell who is truly competent in an area of law and who only has a passing familiarity with it?
What standard can you rely upon so that you engage good representation?
Whether you are talking about RI divorce lawyers or Rhode Island Estate Planning lawyers, it may help you to know that Rhode Island lawyers who represent that they specialize in a particular area of law are not trying to trick you.
What you need to understand as a consumer is that there are many areas of law and that lawyers often find the need to limit the areas in which they choose to practice so that they can be known for what they do. Many lawyers want to be known as reasonably proficient in one or more areas of law.
This makes sense by design. As a Rhode Island lawyer, would you want to fall into the old phrase "jack of all trades but a master of none". Practically speaking it is better to be proficient at, or a master of, a few areas of law rather than to know just a little of each area of law with lots of holes in your scope of knowledge.
So what is specialization? It is a lawyer's determination that he or she has focused his or her legal knowledge in specific areas of law. If a Rhode Island lawyer says he or she specializes in a particular area of law, it means that he or she has decided to focus his or her practice in that area of law and maintain that focus.
The one question you may want to ask yourself is this. How many areas of law can a lawyer really be a master of? If a lawyer says he or she does divorce, personal injury, real estate, medical malpractice and criminal law . . . aren't these substantially different areas of law? Depending upon how long the lawyer has been practicing, it could very well be that he or she is willing to undertake cases in these areas of law, however it is possible that he or she may be a jack of these trades but a master of none of them.
Your best bet? Know the lawyer you are interviewing. Take the time to check into the lawyer. How long has the lawyer been practicing? How many areas of law does the lawyer practice in?
Though I've eliminated distraction from my law practice by engaging exclusively in the practice of divorce and family law, there are many good family lawyers in Rhode Island. A good rule of thumb might be to ask what areas of law the lawyer practices in and verify this on the lawyer's website, Yellow Book Advertising and Yellow Page Advertising. Decide for yourself, if you want a lawyer who is good at divorce and family law, is the lawyer you are interviewing stretched too thin between too many areas of law?
Imagine a lawyer who represents that his or her office practices in 10 areas of law. Just a thought . . . but do you want to guess which ones few they are really proficient at. Are you willing to bet your hard earned money that the lawyer's real specialty is divorce?
Christopher A. Pearsall
70 Dogwood Drive, Suite 304
West Warwick, RI 02893
Call (401) 632-6976 Now for your low-cost consultation.
Rhode Island's Most Affordable Divorce* Lawyer & Family Law* Attorney
Copyright 2009. Christopher A. Pearsall
A New Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer for a New Millenium!
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