The 21st century is essentially called the era of specialization. The two fields of elite profession, Medical and Law, is essentially pressurized with the topic of specialization. While general practitioner has absolutely lost its charm under the doctorate degree, the same is not the case with law. Lawyers across the world still practice with their LLB degree and LLM or any other doctorate degree is not necessary for the purpose of practicing law. However, there exist an invisible barrier of specialization even in the practice field of law and hence the question whether a lawyer can specialize in two different fields of law or not is essentially circumstantial.
Specialization in law
Specialization in law comes from two source –
- University degree
- Practical experience
After a person completes his/her LLB from a reputed university of UK, a person can choose to move forward either way. After a student completes his/her LLM from an UK college, it must be remembered that UK does not have any single jurisdiction and Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own legal system that is completely different from the UK jurisdictional system. Also, under the practicing field of law, there exist two simple categorization – a) Barristers b) Solicitors. While barristers are the legal advisers and court room advocates who are independent and provides their clients with expert knowledge, solicitors are legal experts of a field who has the direct contact with the lawyer and deal with the everyday issue and mostly keep touch with the clients out of court. The Bar Council of UK regulates the 17,000 Barristers practicing in England and Wales and the Solicitors Regulatory Authority deals with more than 1,50,000 solicitors practicing in England and Wales.
However, it is pertinent to mention that for the purpose of practicing before the court of law in UK, a person does not need to have the LLM degree and only the LLB degree shall suffice in that case. LLM or master’s degree in the field of law is necessary when a person wants to pursue a career of research and hold a degree of PhD in law.
Can a lawyer specialize in two legal fields?
As it has been mentioned earlier that a practicing Barrister or solicitor does not need to have any strict adherence to any field of law and no such regulatory bodies exist that shall regulate the specialization grounds of the lawyers unlike the medical profession where specialization in a particular field has its value. In the legal field, a lawyer can handle both civil and criminal matters and also provide for other banking and financial matters as well. The question of specialization in the practice filed essentially comes from experience and the success rate of a Barrister or solicitor in a particular field of law. If a lawyer thrives in the matter of civil cases, he/she will get more and more civil cases and vice versa . However, it is the basic legal norm that there is always a difference in the field of civil/criminal practitioner and tax law practitioners .
However, as it has been mentioned earlier there are no strict rules to this sense of specialization and it does not have any strict rules or regulations to be maintained as well. It differs from market to market and from one firm to another. Hence, a lawyer can specialize in two different fields and deal with legal cases with no strict boundaries as well. In the way of doing so, it is the duty of the lawyer to understand and make sure that he is not being prejudiced to his clients in any way and he/she is not compromising the cases of the clients due to being overburdened with cases from different fields . The same concept does not stand true in the case of LLM. If a student chooses to pursue a career in the academics, he/she must choose a particular subject on which they can do their LLM and pursue further. While there are not strict rules for sticking to only one subjects of masters or specialization, it can be quite hectic to pursue for two different fields of law at the same time .
Should there be any special rule regarding specialization?
This has been an ongoing debate for quite a long time in the field of law where many research scholars have asked the question whether there should be bodies to regulate specialized lawyers under a strict forum in order to cultivate the noble profession in better way and secure the earnings of the young lawyers in this particular field . As it has been seen from a study that law students are not often accompanied by necessary skills of specialization that is needed in the practical field and it has been often stated by the big law firms that most of the young law graduates do not possess the necessary skill to make a first impression in this field as well .
Hence, it is necessary to mention that all of the law schools across the world must provide a sector of specialization at the end of the law school and provide their students with a choice as to which career or a field of law a student likes to pursue. The whole burden should not be the law graduates after he/she joins a firm and most likely law graduates do so out of their need of having a job and the choice of specialization often take the back seat here. While it is true that this system of specialization of the purpose of practice cannot be supported by the law schools alone and sufficient regulatory bodies are needed at the law societies, bar councils and other authorities, it can be a start to make this elite profession like medical and provide better services to the clients as a whole.
Conclusion and suggestion
As it has been already mentioned how law schools and the law bodies of the court should take sufficient effort in providing a field of specialization to the young lawyers, it is also the duty of the firm to understand the need of the hour and categorize the specialization tool after a few years of being a junior associate. Currently, a lawyer can practice in whatever fields he/she likes unless they are butted and bounded by some other ethical concerns, a sense of specialization should be introduced in order to provide the clients with better services and reduces the competitions among the young lawyers and the experience lawyers. A regulatory body must be at the core who shall focus and regulate the advantage and disadvantage of having a specialization system in this elite profession and evaluate accordingly.