Have you seen one of the old TV shows where the lawyers represent every type of client for any type of case? I am told that in the good old days lawyers had general practices and took any case that walked through the door. These lawyers might work on a criminal defense case one day and a divorce case the next.
Although these types of lawyers may still exist in rural communities where lawyers are limited, generally they no longer exist. There’s a reason for this. The law has grown increasingly complex over the years in many areas.
Have you heard the expression “Jack of all trades, master of none”? How many things can you really be an expert at? A lawyer must be well versed in case law, statutes, regulations, and rules in a specific area of law to be competent.
As a result, the legal field has become fairly specialized. If you break your arm, you would likely see an orthopedic physician, not a neurologist. Similarly, if you have a child custody issue, you should consult with a family law lawyer. If you believe you were harmed by a physician, you should speak with a medical malpractice lawyer.
As a consumer, when you see a lawyer who claims to be an expert in numerous types of law, be sure to determine how experienced they are in the type of law that is relevant to your case. You may want to ask them how many cases they have handled that are similar to yours. You should also ask the outcome of their cases—trial results, settlements, etc. This can give you an indication of how much experience they have with that type of law.
One simply cannot be an expert in every type of law because it takes a significant amount of time and knowledge to develop a broad base in any specific area of law.