Family law is a competitive field.
When a spouse receives divorce papers…
When a parent faces the prospect of losing custody of their child...
They’re not going to hire the attorney they see advertised on the side of a bus.
They’re going to hire the best family law attorney they can find.
So, how do you differentiate yourself from your competition?
You should, of course, have a modern, professional-looking website and a digital marketing strategy that helps you leave the best impression on your prospective clients.
But when it comes down to the wire, your authority and experience are what set you apart.
In family law, there’s no better representation of authority and experience than being board-certified.
Meeting strict standards to become a “specialist”
One of the biggest benefits of becoming board-certified is the ability to market yourself as “family law specialist”
(Even attorneys with decades of experience practicing family law and the best track records around can’t legally claim to be specialists unless they have achieved their board certification.)
But the title doesn’t come easy.
Certification requirements vary by state, but generally speaking, an attorney is rigorously tested and must meet specific standards similar to the following to become board-certified in family law.
Here’s an example of certification conditions an attorney can expect...
- At least 5 years of significant experience in practicing family law.
- The attorney should have experience handling common family law matters, like domestic violence, divorce, legal separation, child custody, child support, spousal support, modifications, property division, enforcement of court orders, mediation, divorce counseling, etc.
- Fulfillment of the role of the principal attorney in more than 30 family law cases.
- These cases must involve a certain number of family law hearings, trials, judgments, stipulated temporary family law orders, or briefs (including principal authorship).
- Completion of a minimum of 45 hours of continuing family law legal education.
- This includes education in areas like divorce, enforcement, mediation, custody, support, property division, divorce counseling, etc..
- Passage of a legal specialization examination, similar to a smaller bar exam focused on family law.
- Peer recommendations from other attorneys who work in family law.
And the vetting doesn’t end there.
Each board-certified attorney must undergo re-examination every five years in order to retain their specialist status—ensuring clients that they’re working with a family law expert is stays up-to-date on their education and the latest legal developments within their industry.
A leading differentiator to build trust with new prospects
The point is becoming a board-certified family law specialist helps you differentiate yourself as an attorney and gives you a serious competitive advantage when it comes to appealing to prospective clients.
Let’s look at Texas as an example...there are more than 100,000 practicing attorneys and fewer than 1,000 (or fewer than one-tenth) of them are board-certified.
This exclusivity puts board-certified attorneys in their own class of expertise, insight, and education compared to their rivals, in effect, raising the perceived value of their services among prospective clients.
And here’s another point to consider...once a person sees one attorney marketing themselves as a board-certified specialist, all other attorneys will immediately appear second-rate if they don’t hold the same credentials. That means un-certified attorneys have to work twice as hard to build the same amount of trust.
If you want to distinguish your practice or firm as the TOP law office in your local area, take the time to get your board certification. It’s a challenge, but good things were never meant to come easy.
Put the time in now and it will yield dividends in new clients, cases, and revenue growth for years to come.
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