The Law School’s Role in Post-J.D. Specialty Education

As members of a profession which is largely self-policing, attorneys must find ways to protect the public by identifying the areas of practice that require special expertise and by ensuring that those who hold themselves out as specialists possess the necessary expertise. Simply because one claims a specialty or even practices a specialty does not mean that he has the requisite competence to practice in the field. Because one is presently competent in a specialty does not mean that he will continue to practice and maintain his competence and keep abreast of new techniques and developments. Certainly the profession should not be satisfied with the threat of malpractice claims as the only means to regulate this aspect of a lawyer’s practice. The profession must establish certification requirements for specialty practice, and the law schools must be willing to accept primary responsibility for educating those attorneys who wish to satisfy these requirements and engage in such a practice.