Posted By Irene C. Olszewski, Esq. on January 24, 2013
I receive numerous calls every day from people with legal issues who are looking for a lawyer to advise them and possibly represent them in court. There’s nothing unusual about that. This is a law office, after all.
Sometimes, callers have a difficult time understanding (and accepting) that I don’t practice in every area of law that exists. Sometimes, they get downright angry at me (or my assistant).
Lawyers choose specific practice areas to work in for a reason. There are simply too many areas of the law for any one lawyer to be a master at every one of them. Clients are best served when a lawyer focuses his or her time on a few specific areas of the law and becomes proficient in those areas.
It’s a lot like the practice of medicine. There are some general practice physicians who will refer you to a doctor practicing in a specific area of medicine if the situation warrants it. You wouldn’t go to a podiatrist to diagnose your cardiac problem, you’d go to a cardiologist.
It’s the same with law. If you want a divorce, you call a family law attorney, not an employment law attorney. If you have a criminal matter, you certainly wouldn’t call a divorce lawyer to handle it.
If you call an attorney who has worked with you before on a legal matter, he or she will either be able to accept your new case or he/she will refer you to another attorney if it is in an area of law which they do not practice.
I may represent someone in a divorce and then draft a Will for them at another time. If they call me a year or so later wanting to file a lawsuit against their employer, I explain that I don’t practice employment law and advise them to speak with a lawyer that handles that area of law specifically.
I’ve been accused of not wanting to help someone when I’ve explained that I don’t handle the category of law their case fits under. That is simply untrue. If I don’t practice in a specific area of law, I would not be helping the client if I accepted their case and pretended to know what I was doing. I am properly helping them by advising them to seek an attorney who does practice in the required area of law.
If you call a lawyer’s office because you are looking for legal advice or representation, please be sure you have taken a moment beforehand to determine what areas of law that lawyer and or law firm actually practice. It’s in your best interest.
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copyright 2013 Irene C. Olszewski, Esq.