What is Board Certification in Personal Injury Law?
When we think of “Board Certification”, we think of the best: doctors, surgeons, and professionals who are all-around qualified. “Board certified” signifies that the professional is one of the best at what they do in their chosen profession. This article explains the significance, and what to look for when consulting with a lawyer after an accident.
What is Board Certification in relation to Personal Injury Law?
Board Certification is a distinction that separates those who excel in their field from their average peers. It separates the professionals from those who “slack off”, the “paper pushers”, who do as little as possible for small settlements.
Board Certification is a mark of excellence. Hospitals will never allow a surgeon without Board Certification to perform surgery on a patient. In fact they may not even be able to hold privileges at a hospital. Doctors with Board Certification have a higher level of successful patient outcomes than those who chose not to “take their boards”.
A patient should never allow a surgeon lacking Board Certification to perform surgery on them, and thus they should never allow a lawyer who lacks the qualifications to represent them in court. And, for those unaware, lawyers can (and should) absolutely become Board Certified.
Why are the qualifications of a Personal Injury lawyer important?
Qualifications should be the first thing a potential client looks at when choosing legal representation. While the profession of law itself is a prestigious one, more goes into what makes a great lawyer than law school and a bar exam score.
Potential clients should ask the following questions:
- Does my lawyer have Board Certification?
- Has my lawyer ever had a complaint filed against them with the Bar Association?
- What are my lawyer’s recent verdicts?
- Can my lawyer show me recent settlement amounts?
- When was the last time my lawyer went to trial?
- How many trials is my lawyer currently representing clients in?
Why is a lawyer’s court and trial experience important?
Clients often make the mistake of not narrowing down what a lawyer does to one area of the law. We think of a lawyer as a person we can hire to “sue” someone who has “wronged us”. That, however, is not the whole picture.
It’s true that a lawyer does have the ability to “sue” those who act negligently and cause harm to others. However, it’s also true that a lawyer can practice any area of law they want to after passing a state bar exam. This is very broad and leaves a lot of questions about experience unanswered. Has the lawyer ever seen a case to trial? More importantly, how many trials has the lawyer seen to success?
That’s why a great deal of the time a lawyer specializes. The best Personal Injury lawyers do only one thing: practice accident law. It could be specializing in Personal Injury, for instance. Just like those in the medical profession, a lawyer chooses their specialty and focuses their attention on it.
When a lawyer gains enough experience and has resolved enough cases successfully, only then do they proceed in obtaining Board Certification.
What makes a lawyer with Board Certification great?
What separates a good lawyer from a great lawyer? Board Certification. The choice to pursue Board Certification is one that requires dedication, time, and commitment.
A high standard of ethics and maintaining client satisfaction are only two factors that go into a highly qualified lawyer. To achieve Board Certification, lawyers must undergo a rigorous screening of credentials. These include but are not limited to:
- Documented experience. How long has the lawyer been practicing? What is their success rate?
- Both judicial and peer references. What do other top lawyers and those in the legal sphere think of a lawyers’ ethics and moral character?
- A comprehensive exam must be passed.
- Any disciplinary action taken upon the lawyer receives thorough review. However, lawyers with prior disciplinary action usually do not quality for Board Certification. This is why a lawyer with conduct issues or questionable ethics may not qualify to become Board Certified.
Why is maintaining Board Certification important?
Retaining Board Certification is just as important as achieving it in the first place. Remaining Board Certified means the lawyer is maintaining the high standards set forth for them. Also, that they continue to provide successful outcomes for every client.
Board Certification is proof that the lawyer is being held to a higher standard than his or her peers. Both personally and professionally. Clients can place their trust in a lawyer with Board Certification. These lawyers have continually exceed the standards necessary to practice Personal Injury law.