NaBloPoMo 2009 Day 16 — Specialization
There was a time when the practice of law was like a trip to the general store. I’m not saying that practicing law was once like stocking shelves with cans of peas, an assortment of jerky and shot gun shells. But there was a time when the local attorney helped people with every variety of legal need. Like medicine, that is really no longer the case. Today, the practice of law is specialized. “The law” is impacted by the laws passed by Congress and state legislatures, as well as federal and state courts. The constant “updating” of the law makes it difficult for people to be “generalists.” Our litigious society doesn’t help either.
Which brings me to a call that I received today. I practice labor and employment law. Primarily, I help businesses with their employee issues, although I also help employees. But the bulk of what I do involves labor and employment law. Today, however, I received a call from someone who got my name from someone I met at a networking meeting. The call involved a pseudo-common-law marriage situation via a religious union with which I wasn’t familiar. Additionally, there was a car involved. The car was purchased in the woman’s name, but the de facto husband was using the car and occasionally making payments on it despite a verbal agreement that he would make every payment. All of this information was followed with the ubiquitous question: “do you handle things like this?”
No I don’t. I know people who practice family law. Not aware if they handle situations involving certain religious rites or practices. But I’m glad to refer people to those who have more experience.
I love to help people who need assistance. But lawyers can’t help everyone in need of legal assistance. The nature of the practice doesn’t allow that anymore.