Do law firms engage in general practice or do they specialize?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Oct 6, 2011

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Some law firms concentrate in only one area of law, such as Intellectual Property, or Accidents and Personal Injury, or Communications law. Others concentrate on certain client groups, such as the Entertainment Industry clients, or Banks and engage in a “General Practice” for firms and individuals within that industry.

Typically a law firm is a collection of persons whose talents and Practice Areas complement each other. Lawyer A may handle certain Practice Areas, and Lawyer B different Practice Areas while Lawyer C concentrates on Litigation and trial work. Such a firm can be said to engage in General Practice even though it consists of a collection of specialists.

Much depends both on the lawyer’s geographic setting (the smaller the geographic area, the more general the practice tends to be) and the lawyer’s preferences. Sometimes a single lawyer can best handle all the routine matters a particular client can generate; sometimes he or she finds it necessary or appropriate to call in a specialist.

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