Accredited Specialisation

There is a significant difference between the qualifications of lawyers and doctors.

When doctors graduate from university, they have to complete a practical training component of their qualification before being able to independently practise.  If they want to practise in certain areas, for example, oncology or obstetrics, they have to undergo extra training and gain extra qualifications in order to be able to do so.

Lawyers are quite different.  Upon completing university and a short practical legal training course, any lawyer can practise in any area of law, in any court that they choose to.  What this often leads to is lawyers practising in areas that they really have very little experience or expertise in. This can, and frequently does, have disastrous impacts on their clients.

The Law Society of New South Wales recognised some years ago that there was no independent recognition of expertise available.  The public had no way of telling if their lawyer was truly an expert in the area of need they had.  Accordingly, the Law Society of New South Wales introduced the “Accredited Specialist” qualification, which is conferred only after a rigorous assessment of a lawyer’s expertise in certain areas, including minimum standards of length and type of experience, technical examinations, and peer assessments of problem solving, client relations, and communication skills.

In 2009, Andrew Warren was appointed by the Law Society of New South Wales as an Accredited Specialist in Family Law.  He was the first solicitor practising on the far south coast of New South Wales to have achieved this prestigious appointment. He has now been an Accredited Specialist in Family Law for a decade.

Andrew has been practising as a solicitor and barrister since 1991. Whilst he has extensive experience in a wide range of legal areas, he has for many years, chosen to only practise in family law. This is because he recognises that family law is a technically and emotionally complex area of law that requires expertise and experience.

This is what His Honour Judge Scarlett had to say in the case of Zandas v Zandas in 2016 about lawyers who practise in family law who have little experience:

The day has long passed where solicitors can “dabble” in family law…(the solicitor in the case before him) has no experience in family law, and one can only ask what possessed him to involve himself in a case in a jurisdiction with which he is unfamiliar…

A party with a family law matter should consult a solicitor with proven expertise in the jurisdiction”

If you are instructing a lawyer, you need to know that they actually know what they are doing in the area of work they are practising in.  The Law Society’s appointment of Andrew as an Accredited Specialist in Family Law since 2009 is a guarantee to you of his expertise.