Is your attorney a legal decathlete, or a 100 meter sprinter? The answer to that question could impact the value you receive from the relationship with your lawyer.
As the 2016 Olympic Summer Games kicked off in Rio this week, we stop to admire and cheer for our USA athletes as they compete, and with so many great athletes competing in these games its fun to ask who is the World’s Greatest Athlete? You have to look to the decathlon to answer that question with its ten combined multidiscipline events of the 100 meters, long jump, shot put, high jump, 400 meters, 110 meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin throw, and 1500 meters. The event is so demanding that traditionally all competitors who complete all 10 events, and not just the medalists, complete a round of honor following the competition.
You may remember the Reebok campaign that ran in 1992 prior to the Summer Olympic games that asked viewers to choose who they believed would prove to be the “World’s Greatest Athlete” between Dan O’Brien and Dave Johnson, both Olympic decathletes. And who can forget Bruce Jenner (at the time) on the cover of the Wheaties box after winning the gold medal at the 1972 Summer Olympic games in Montreal. And lest I forget Oklahoma’s own native son Jim Thorpe, still considered by many the greatest athlete ever.
This year the man to watch is the United States’ Ashton Eaton who will be competing to become the first man to win gold in the decathlon in back-to-back Olympics since Great Britain’s Daley Thompson did so in 1980 and 1984. It’s save to say that should Ashton Eaton repeat as the decathlon champion, he will be considered the “World’s Greatest Athlete” and a prominent figure in these Olympic games.
We are impressed by these athletes because of the skill and ability they show in multiple disciplines. We believe they are the “World’s Greatest Athlete” not because they are the fastest human alive, or because they can jump higher than anyone, we do so because their ability in the combined disciplines makes them the most well-rounded athlete alive.
In the coming weeks, we will marvel at greatness in combined disciplines on the track field during the Summer Games in Rio, however, in business we are hearing more and more that to succeed one must focus their attention and efforts in one limited discipline. In today’s hyper-technical world, specializing in a single discipline has become the norm, and some have even created specialties within specialties.
We at Smith Simmons do not believe hyper-specialization creates the best attorneys, and we approach our role as more decathlete than 100 meter sprinter. We believe in the value provided to the client by a cross-discipline law firm.
Becoming exposed to multiple practice areas and topics provides context not otherwise available, as well as a richer cache of experience from which the attorney can call on to best advise a client. An attorney advising a divorce client on how to divide a company, or preserve a company will be better able to advise that client if they are familiar with the workings of an operating agreement and the state and federal law that impacts businesses. Our attorneys are better suited to assist in preserving a personal injury settlement when they understand the estate planning tools at the disposal of the client that help to preserve wealth.
Those who say that one can’t be an expert when they aren’t fully committed to the one area of practice are expressing a philosophy of practice that we believe is based on a model not conducive to serving the vast majority of legal clients. We believe the attorney-client relationship is built on a strategic partnership of professionals assisting a client in any area they may need help in. To identify those issues, the attorney must understand what to look for, and hyper-specialization does not breed that type of attorney. To a hammer, the world looks like a nail; but sometimes we know a screw driver may be the more appropriate tool in the toolbox.
Every lawyer at Smith Simmons has experience in every practice area in which we provide services. Civil litigation, estate planning, family law, and business law are areas in which our attorneys have a well-rounded knowledge. We then insure attorneys are identified as a technical specialists in one area or another to insure a deep dive of knowledge is achieved and can be called on when needed. We want our attorneys well positioned to provide the best service to the variety of legal issues our clients face. Life doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and having one attorney to serve as your first point of contact provides peace of mind and security to client from every walk of life.
We look forward to watching to see who will be crowned “The World’s Greatest Athlete” at this year’s Rio Olympics, and we look forward to continuing our own work to provide great legal services. We consider every Smith Simmons attorney a legal decathlete called upon to be the most well-rounded and educated attorney they can be to provide the best strategic counsel to the client’s we serve. If we can assist in your civil litigation, business law, estate planning, or family law matter please contact us today.
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