After an accident that results in serious bodily harm or a wrongful death, it’s important that the victim or their surviving family members pursue legal advice as soon as possible. In most states, there is a Statute of Limitations that places a time limit on how long one has to obtain compensation following an accident. This writeup intends to explore the importance of not only seeking legal advice, but the importance of retaining a Board Certified Personal Injury lawyer following an accident.
What’s the emphasis on Board Certified?
When we consider the importance of anything being “Board Certified”, we know it means a person who excels in their profession. Board Certified could refer to medical professionals such as doctors and surgeons who exceeded the necessary requirements to practice medicine; “Board Certified” designates that the professional is more than just “capable” at performing the duties of their job; they excel in their chosen field. But, many people aren’t aware that lawyers can be Board Certified as well.
Hospitals would never allow a surgeon who isn’t Board Certified to perform medical procedures and surgeries on patients, in fact surgeons who aren’t classified as Board Certified in their speciality most likely would not even be granted privileges to practice in most hospitals, with AMA regulations in place to prevent medical negligence and patient injury. Medical professionals who become Board Certified have a higher level of patient satisfaction and most importantly, successful surgical outcomes than those who chose to practice medicine without Board Certification.
What’s the difference between Board Certified and non Board Certified lawyers?
When it comes to practicing law, the same success premise we discussed above applies. A lawyer who passed the bar would not excel in their skill the same as a lawyer who forged ahead post-law school and obtained Board Certification to further their practice, their experience, and their ethics. When it comes to Board Certified lawyers, the 1% of the men and women who obtain this distinction are held to a higher ethical and moral standing, and are expected to exceed in both experience and client satisfaction consistently.
Why is a lawyer’s experience important?
While it’s true that a lawyer does have the ability to “sue” those who have “wronged us” at trial, should the facts of the case make trial necessary over mediation (a method of Alternative Dispute Resolution). It’s also permissible that a lawyer practices any area of law he or she wants to after passing their state bar exam, however if they’ve studied one area and changed their mind on which speciality they wish to practice, they may not have experience in their new chosen area of law and this can hurt a client’s chances for a successful case. This ability to practice “any” area of the law is very broad and leaves a lot to be explained. There’s no vague area when it comes to a Board Certified lawyer, because these top professionals have chosen the area of law they wish to practice for the duration of their career and have taken steps necessary to further both their experience and their successful verdicts through continued, long term practice.
This is why a great deal of the time a Board Certified lawyer specializes (Personal Injury, for instance, is an example of one specialty in which a lawyer must have specific experience in order to successfully act on behalf of a client), just like doctors who specialize in a particular area of the body and nothing else, making them able to gain both experience and build successful practices with a high rate of patient success and healing.
What makes a great lawyer?
What separates a good lawyer from a great lawyer is truly Board Certification. The choice to become Board Certified is one that many Senior lawyers make early in their career because it takes years to achieve, as well as consistent success during trial (high dollar verdicts that provided justice for the clients). Becoming Board Certified should be every young lawyer’s goal. It’s a goal that requires dedication, time, and commitment to one’s clients and one’s profession. A lawyer who doesn’t care to become Board Certified is what we’ve referred to as a “paper pusher” lawyer; a young or inexperienced lawyer who doesn’t have the skill necessary to fight the insurance companies, know when to take a case to trial (or alternatively accept an offer at mediation), and whose success rate hinges on the number of clients whose cases were settled rather than the satisfaction of those clients and whether or not the compensation obtained on their behalf was the maximum available to them for their pain and suffering.
A high standard of moral and ethical behavior, as well as maintaining a consistent level of client satisfaction through hundreds of successful verdicts are only two of many factors that qualify a lawyer for Board Certification. To become Board Certified, those who hold such certification underwent a rigorous screening of their credentials, which may have included but were not limited to:
- Documented experience: how long did the lawyer practice prior to pursuing Board Certification? What is their success rate in seeing cases to verdict? How much have their cases settled for during mediation?
- Both judicial and peer acquired references: what do other top lawyers and those who share the same profession, colleagues, and Firm partners think of the lawyer’s ethics and moral standing when it comes to them as both a person and a lawyer?
- An exam must be taken and passed
- Any disciplinary action that has ever been taken upon them must be promptly reported for review; if the lawyer has been written up, the Bar Association in their state has been contacted due to their conduct or any other reason that pertains to their moral standing, ethics, or less than “above the bar” practice of the law, they may not qualify for Board Certification until a formal hearing is granted and it can be decided whether or not the lawyer may proceed with Board Certification. Any bad marks of conduct on the lawyer’s official record will surely delay the Board Certification process.
Becoming Board Certified is important, but consistency is key
Remaining Board Certified is just as important as becoming Board Certified in the first place. Remaining Board Certified means a lawyer has maintained the high moral, ethical, and professional standards set forth for them and can consistently provide the highest level of satisfaction (high dollar verdicts, fair settlements, ease of contact and communication between lawyer and client) in every case.
Board Certification is proof that a lawyer is being held to a higher standard than his or her legal peers both in how they conduct themselves professionally and personally. Clients can place more trust in a Board Certified lawyer because they know they’ve taken the time to do more than “practice” law, they live their professional on a daily basis, put their heart, sweat, and tears into their Firms, and they treat clients the way they’d want their own family to be treated.
This is a brand new followup to the July 27, 2018 article “The Board Certified Difference (Why What’s Hanging on Your lawyer’s Wall Matters!)”