Lawyers often like to say they’re “full service” – frequently right after they’ve just told you about their specialized area(s) of expertise. I think this begs the question – can a lawyer really be full service; and if so, can that same lawyer really have any special expertise? After all, have you ever noticed how many lawyers’ bios say they engage in “general practice, including but not limited to . . .” and then list every possible substantive legal expertise you’ve heard of and many you haven’t. What does that mean?
I think the answer to both of these questions is yes, BUT only if your lawyer is part of a firm that practices with a team approach with talented colleagues having multiple specialties. After all, no one person can be an expert at everything, but as a client with a business to run – where risks and opportunities aren’t neatly labeled as “corporate,” “securities,” “real estate,” or “intellectual property” – I want to know that my lawyer and my law firm not only know and understand all aspects of my specific business and strategies, but also that they fully know and understand the law as it applies to my business. I don’t want to hire a corporate lawyer to form my company, a securities lawyer to help me raise money, and a real estate lawyer to help me purchase my office building. I want to hire a “full service” law firm that can capably handle all of these matters, and can provide me with a proactive and strategic approach – not just because they have expertise in all of the relevant substantive legal areas, but because my lead attorney makes sure the entire client service team fully understands me and my company as a result of handling all of my legal needs for the life of my company.