by Roy Bradford Evans, Attorney at Law
When handing out business cards to promote my legal services an all-too-common response is: “Thanks, I might need a good lawyer if I ever get in any trouble,” or “if I ever have an accident” or “if I need to sue somebody.”
More than often my response is: “Don’t call me. I’m a contract attorney.” Most times people are puzzled because they assume that all lawyers/attorneys are jacks-of-all-trades and can provide legal assistance on any manner.
However, even though attorney’s have to take a variety of subjects in-law school, sometimes take a bar exam, are required to take periodic continuing education courses and are trained to understand the law and do research, most attorneys have specific areas of focus and expertise.
Because the law is constantly changing and affects everything we do it would be impossible to know everything and be competent in every aspect of all the laws that govern our lives. Therefore most attorneys focus their energies on specific areas of expertise and interest in order to provide the best possible representation.
Selecting an attorney is like anything else. You wouldn’t want a bricklayer repairing your car, a plumber cutting your hair or a dentist performing open-heart surgery even though he/she is licensed to practice medicine? (At least I hope not?)
In the same instance you wouldn’t want a trademark attorney to represent you in a serious criminal matter where your Constitutional rights and personal freedom are at stake. Nor would you want a bankruptcy attorney to counsel you on how to start your business or probate your estate.
To give yourself the best opportunity to prevail in an important legal matter you need to select an attorney with the expertise, background and knowledge in that specific area of the law. You want your problem to be competently and professionally analyzed, satisfactorily resolved and most of all you want to get the best representation for your money.
When selecting legal counsel you should first look for someone who knows something about your area of need and the nature of your problem. When in an accident you want a personal injury attorney. When developing your business find a contract/business law attorney. For a case of discrimination seek an attorney knowledgeable of Title VII and the laws of the Federal Court system.
Instead of asking, “Do you know a good lawyer?” Ask, “Do you know an attorney with the expertise and experience who knows about the law dealing with my area of need?”
Where do you look and how do you find the type of attorney you need? My first advice is to ask around. Most people have had some interaction with an attorney and may be able to give you a lead.
Attorneys are licensed by the Bar Association, which keeps a list of attorney’s and their expertise. (Look in the phone book under Milwaukee Bar Association Referrals.) You can also look in the yellow pages under “Attorneys” where many attorneys’ advertise their areas of expertise. There are community publications such as the Black Pages and the publication you are reading that list attorney’s who advertise their services.
As an attorney, I receive numerous calls for assistance outside my area of expertise but I always keep a ready reference of competent attorney associates to whom you can be referred.
The legal system reflects the complexities of our complex society. It is important that you get competent legal counsel and representation. My advice to you is to get legal counsel before the fact and not wait until you are in trouble. It’s much easier to avoid problems, less stressful and will save you a lot of money.
Feel free to contact Attorney Roy Bradford Evans, Attorney at Law for more information at (414) 445-3855 or [email protected]
(Roy Evans is a community based contract attorney with 31 years of practice. His primary areas of expertise includes but is not limited to Municipal law, real estate matters, small business development, probate law and civil litigation.)