What is a specialist in medical law ? Is the best lawyer for doctors a physician lawyer or is more required? How do you find the perfect fit?
The “perfect fit” is elusive. When medical standard of care is the operative issue, a doctor lawyer may be the best attorney for your case. When criminal charges underlie an action (Stark law, AKS, Penal Code section 550, 18 USC 1347 healthcare fraud) then a certified Criminal Defense Specialist is the right choice. There is overlap. DEA audits may involve simple recordkeeping or may involve criminal issues. In each instance special expertise in a narrow area is better than general knowledge. A physician specializing in cardiovascular surgery may be great for a brain aneurism in a pinch but if you have time and access, you probably want not just a surgeon but a neurosurgeon. And we could go on. Within neurosurgery you want someone with experience with your specific issue. You want your hospital to have strong perioperative procedures, glycemic controls etc etc etc.
Board Certified Specialist
What is a State Bar certified criminal defense specialist?
The State Bar of California certifies a small number of lawyers as specialists in criminal defense. An attorney must complete 45 hours of education in their specialty field during the three years before they apply to a certified legal specialization program. Once certified, the specialist must complete 36 hours of approved continuing education every three years. The application process is difficult. The State Bar’s Board of Legal Specialization must approve each attorney’s application. There is peer review by other attorneys and review by judges.
How Many Criminal Defense Lawyers Are Specialists?
Daniel Horowitz had to meet the specialist requirements and passed a rigorous written examination to become one of only about 400 criminal defense specialists in California He has held this certification for over 25 years. There are only about 20 certified specialists among the many criminal defense attorneys in Contra Costa County where Horowitz maintains his Lafayette, Ca. office. When the State Bar of California, Board of Legalization allows someone to become a specialist they also establish strict continuing education requirements in this field of expertise. To be certified in the first place the lawyer has strict experience requirements and must pass judicial and peer evaluation. Daniel Horowitz has taught trial law and has trained attorneys who are studying to be criminal defense specialists. These are the reasons that many attorneys call themselves criminal defense attorneys or defense experts but legally only a few can use the term “specialist”.
Evidence Based Attorney Selection
So why when doctors choose a lawyer do so many doctors a strict and evidence based inquiry into specific expertise ?
We are the first to admit that we are not the best lawyer for every single case involving a physician. In fact, we are NOT GENERALISTS and in our view a general practitioner is rarely the right attorney for a specific medical-legal issue.
Our group of physician attorneys specialize (focus) in areas where their skill set is special. Our team approach allows matching attorneys and paralegals who match your needs.
An evidence based selection of attorneys must consider the pre-existing skills and knowledge relating to your area of legal concern. You do not want to pay a lawyer or paralegal to learn. We have seen that. A lawyer who might be the best lawyer for physician contracts ventures into a medical board defense and learns as he goes. The bills skyrocket as the lawyer learns what he should already know and in the case that this paragraph is based on, the result was not good.
High Conflict Lawyers
If you have a civil lawsuit, criminal case, medical board or peer review hearing, lawyers who have spent (literally) years of their lives in a courtroom are the best lawyers for you. There is really not much debate about that point. Day after day hearing evidence, competing with talented competition, presenting evidence and needing to object in less than 1/2 a second are the grist for the mill that makes a true trial lawyer a rare and valued partner for a physician. Trial lawyers see 3-4 moves ahead and this skill develops over time. It requires more than just intelligence, it requires years of experience and a great deal of intellectual and emotional pain. Real trial lawyers are a breed apart and if your case involves hearings or the presentation of evidence there is no substitute for a real trial lawyer.
Trial lawyers can specialize in specific areas or present the evidence assembled by a team of experts in the particular field. It is not enough to have a medical-legal expert or even a doctor-lawyer prepare your case. If you have a complex medical issue that has legal implications, a physician lawyer such as Mark Ravis is necessarily going to add a special level of expertise. When business and financial issues intertwine with civil lawsuits or criminal matters having Molly Northrup M.B.A. on the legal team is necessarily going to …… add that same special expertise that your case deserves.T he preparation is half the work and the presentation brings home the victory (or the chance of victory!)
For this reason we call trial lawyers, “high conflict lawyers”. You bring in the trial team when the litigation starts. They game plan the preparation, hire the experts and assemble the support team. If the case resolves their preparation is catalyst. If the case goes to hearing, your team of “high conflict lawyers” is in their element while the opposition is rarely at that same level. This the team that a doctor needs when his/her license is at risk.
If we are not a good fit we will not take your case. We can often make referrals to attorneys who are particularly skilled in your area of need.
Call our physicians lawyers at (925) 283-1863