The title of “specialist” is protected and can only be used or claimed by lawyers who have received approval from their Bar Association.
In practice, few lawyers take this step despite a good number of them having completed their years of study with a complementary cycle of specialization in a particular area, and dedicating their practice to it throughout their careers.
So be careful not to get confused: just because a lawyer does not have the official title of specialist does not mean that he is not an expert in a legal area. As proof, the most renowned and competent lawyers in Belgium who, for example, also exercise the functions of university professor are very often not “specialists” recognized by their order, despite undeniable expertise.
How to verify the competence of a lawyer?
The official title of “specialized” lawyer granted by the Bar Association may be a relevant criterion to help you in your research. However, many lawyers do not complete the formalities required to obtain this title, so this criterion alone will not suffice.
Determining whether a lawyer is specialized or rather an expert in his area requires being able to decipher the codes of the lawyering industry. As often when there is no real organized and generalized standard, it will be necessary to proceed by bundle of clues as long as the information is accessible, which in practice is often problematic.
Indeed, an expert will be recognizable by a university specialization, by his scientific activities, by his participation in working committees, by university mandates, by his years of practice in an area, by the opinion of his clients, etc.
However, some of this information is confidential, some unavailable or scattered and this makes the task difficult.
The solution? An objective and reliable rating of lawyers and the sharing of client’s experiences
This opacity, whether voluntary or not, creates a real problem of access to lawyers and contributes to the idea that this lack of transparency is “organized” by the profession. This is in fact not correct, mainly because the lawyer is bound by ethical rules which oblige lawyers to keep their information confidential, not to reveal the name of their client, etc.
This is the reason why an innovative solution was needed. uLaw has therefore developed a unique algorithm that provides reliable scoring of legal profiles. uLaw brings together the various objective and confidential information specific to the lawyer to derive a ‘technical’ score, supplemented by the opinions of the platform’s client users. This “composite” rating not only ensures visibility of the lawyer’s technical competences, assessed by uLaw, but also of his human and commercial skills, which is assessed by his former clients.