The Truth about DUI “Specialization”
While any lawyer fresh out of law school can say a practice “focuses on” or is “limited” to DWI or any other field, to use the word “specialized,” the lawyer must have received specialization certification from an agency or organization that has met rigid tests imposed by the American Bar Association. This is for good reason. According to the American Bar Association, “[a] lawyer who is a certified specialist has been recognized by an independent professional certifying organization as having an enhanced level of skill and expertise, as well as substantial involvement in an established legal specialty. These organizations require a lawyer to demonstrate special training, experience and knowledge to insure that the lawyer’s recognition as a certified specialist is meaningful and reliable.”
Certification is not a requirement for the practice of law in Connecticut and does not necessarily indicate greater competence than other attorneys experienced in this field of law.
The National College for DUI Defense is the only ABA approved DUI (DWI) certification program. According to the National College for DUI Defense, “the purpose of the program is to identify and acknowledge lawyers who possess an enhanced level of skill and expertise in this field, and to develop and improve the profession’s competence in this specialty area.”
Connecticut attorneys are governed by the Rules of Professional Conduct. Rule 7.4A specifically denotes the areas in which an attorney can be certified if that attorney has met the requirements of the governing body for certification.
Those areas are: Administrative law, admiralty, antitrust, appellate practice, business bankruptcy, child welfare law, consumer bankruptcy, civil rights and discrimination, civil trial practice, commercial transactions, consumer claims and protection, corporate claims and protection, corporate and business organizations, corporate finance and securities, criminal, environmental, estate planning and probate, family and matrimonial, governmental contracts and claims, immigration and naturalization, international, labor, military, natural resources, patent, trademark and copyright, residential real estate, commercial real estate, taxation and worker’ compensation.
As you can see, DUI defense is not one of these areas.
Therefore no attorney can state they specialize in the area of DUI defense in Connecticut because Connecticut has not recognized the ABA certification program of the National College for DUI defense.