With the recent proliferation of law firm advertising, the general public has probably heard a lot about various awards and qualifications claimed to be achieved by lawyers. But not all so-called “awards” are created equally, and it is worthwhile to ask some questions before accepting an advertised award or achievement at face value.
For example, did you know that some awards are actually purchased from specific organizations for an administrative fee? These organizations are typically formed solely for the purpose of selling such awards, and they rarely have anything to do with the practice of law.
In addition, some awards are presented based on surveys of name recognition, rather than legal expertise. Such surveys are not necessarily indicative of a law firm’s skill in any given area, but rather whether a member of the public has seen their name on a billboard or the side of a bus.
Of course, some awards are legitimately earned. Lawyers with top ratings in Canada are usually nominated by their peers (other lawyers practicing in the same field) for inclusion in well-known publications such as the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory or Best Lawyers in Canada. In addition, lawyers who have achieved top qualifications in their field can apply to the Law Society of Upper Canada to become a Certified Specialist. Not unlike physicians who practice in specialized areas (like cardiology or urology), lawyers with focused practices and extensive experience are also certified as specialists in their particular fields.
If you are looking for a lawyer, make sure to ask questions about awards and achievements. And remember, not all awards are created equally.
Oatley Vigmond is Ontario’s Personal Injury Law Firm. If you or someone you know requires assistance with a personal injury claim, we may be able to help.
About the Authors
Adam Little earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto in 1996. He graduated from Queen’s University Faculty of Law in 2000 and was called to the bar in 2002. Adam was practicising on Bay Street for a leading Toronto litigation firm that represented doctors in medical malpractice claims when he realized that helping people through personal injury litigation was what he wanted to do. “I wanted to work for the best,” he said. A partner at Oatley Vigmond had written the best-known book available about addressing jury trials, which Adam had read and admired. He wrote to the partner, went through an intense interview process and became a partner at the firm in 2005.