Do you tell people you are an expert? You might want to try not doing so for a number of reasons as a recent article in the ACC Docket discusses. With the profession continuing to get more and more specialized and third-party certifications flourishing, you may be better served communicating things you do in a different way. Like all professionals, lawyers are fallible and not omniscient, although we have all met a handful (or more) of those who believe they are. Law is constantly evolving and keeping up means being a perpetual student and practitioner. It’s not a negative to indicate what areas you are comfortable working in and what areas are outside of your expertise. Indeed, making this clear often ensures that appropriate specialists are brought inside the fold as early as possible so that stakeholders get the holistic guidance they need on the pressing issues they face.
“Have you ever noticed how often we answer the question “What do you do?” with a statement of what we are? As in, “I’m a teacher,” “I’m a nurse,” or “I’m a lawyer.” This no doubt conveys important information, which is why we do it. But there are at least three reasons why you might not want to identify yourself by your profession: unreasonable expectations, clouded self-image, and unwarranted assumptions. Ironically, these are among the same reasons why people are usually proud to tout their professional credentials. Let’s explore the dichotomy, after which you can decide how you’ll refer to yourself (and think of others) from now on.”