Problems of Specializing Legal Practices in Moldova
I recently came across the post by Aidan Ellis at The Barrister Blog called "The danger of specialisation" The name of the post says for itself. The author reveals some problems that may face too narrowly specialized practicing lawyers and describes the benefits of having a good basis of general legal knowledge:
Nevertheless the core skills of the lawyer apply to any area of law. Legal research, drafting and most importantly communication are substantially the same in any branch of the law. There is no substitute for a broad range of experience in terms of being able to offer a complete service to clients. Often clients have legal problems that are not easily pigeonholed into a particular specialism. Personal injury itself may overlap with employment, health and safety or criminal law.
On a personal level, occasionally being thrust into the melee of an unfamiliar area of law is useful experience. It teaches, or perhaps reminds, how to research novel points swiftly and accurately. It is useful practice for the advocate to appear unflappable in any situation because even on home ground new points can occur.
Unfortunately these gentler benefits look set to be swamped by the onrushing tide of specialisation.
And these ideas of a British lawyer led me to the thoughts on specialisation of practices among Moldavian lawyers. And here they are:
In contrast to England facing the problem of overspecialized lawyers many Moldavian lawyers sometimes seem to be "specialists" in all areas of law. There are quite few law firms that have good specialists in certain particular fields (though many affirm they do). You'll hardly find a lawyer who would deal exclusively with M&As, personal injury, etc.
OK, maybe I'm too categorical. Of course, there are specialist in certain areas of practice. But this doesn't seem to be a norm among Moldovan lawyers.
But another question that arises is - will the tendency for specialization evolve among lawyers in Moldova?. I'm sure it will. BUT, not so fast as has to be. Here are some of the reasons that will impede the process, as I see it:
1. (One of the most important) The quality of legal teaching at Moldavian Universities is still too low. In order to develop particular (and narrow) practices of law we need highly prepared teachers of law in such areas as corporate law, customs regulations, land law, personal injury, securities, etc. (the list can be very long indeed) who know not only the theory (though it is really important) but also practicalities of particular areas. Most of them do not tend to teach law at universities. And the ones who do are not always enough prepared to TEACH. And I see this as one of the top priorities for our universities to FIND and PREPARE such specialists.
2. Another problem is the actual prospects for the specialists in some narrow niches of Moldavian legal "market". Let me explain what I mean. Moldova is a very small country. And let's speak frankly - not truly democratic. So, the prospective clientele is not large enough. And people don't really trust authorities in general and courts in particular. Moldova is not an "Overlawyered" country. So you can be a greatest specialist in an area where people do not tend to seek a legal advice (even when they need it)... I'm notgoing to develop this idea. I hope you've caught the point...
3. (Related with the second issue). Law is too often "forgotten" about. Many things are done despite certain legal prescriptions. You can know law perfectly well and not be able to implement it. Because it's simply not observed...
4. Inconsistency and vagueness of many laws. Many procedures (especially administrative ones) are carried out according to internal regulations that are adopted within certain administrative bodies. And nobody, except the employees of those institutions, know about the rules that are applied. There's a regulatory reform being implemented in order to eliminate such practices, the so called "Guillotine reform" (more on this read here and here), however it is still far from being finished (if ever will completely). Particularly, the situation is complicated at the level of local public administration. So, you can't always rely on law when there can be a set of unknown regulations that make a law useless or hard to implement...
However, I am an optimist. Despite all the problems that exist I think that the process of specializing practices among Moldavian lawyers will continue, probably not too fast, but we definitely have to expect more and more narrow specialists to appear...