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Law Dogs Finding the Right Breed (of Lawyer)
It’s fair to say I’ve had my hands full at home. The Tafelski family has just welcomed our newest (and furriest) addition, Sonny the Boston terrier. At 5 months old, it’s clear he’s a happy little guy, and he had no problems making himself at home. As he gets a little older, he’s bound to grow even more energetic, but my wife, son, and I know what to expect from the breed. Sonny isn’t our first Boston terrier. Years ago, we ended up adopting one unexpectedly. We’d planned on getting an entirely different dog, but, when we got there, it was clear the breeder’s son had already formed a bond with the pup. That’s when this little terrier came bounding around the corner, and well, we just knew she was the one. “The truth is many people make the same mistake with dogs as they do with lawyers.” Looking back, we were lucky to find a dog breed that fit our young family. Boston terriers are playful and energetic, but they don’t need to run all the time like some other breeds. Terriers are perfect for those who can’t always walk their pup to a large dog park. Unfortunately, many people blindly adopt dogs without knowing anything about their breed’s temperament, needs, or even how big they’re going to get.
The truth is many people make the same mistake with dogs as they do with lawyers. They think they’re all the same. Sure, one may have their face on a billboard or have gone to a different law school than another, but are they really that different? As someone who has worked in the law for decades, I’m here to tell you that yes, they are. I’m not just talking about the difference in a lawyer’s skill here. Just as we wouldn’t say a Great Dane is inherently better than a Chihuahua, I’d rarely say that one legal professional is all around better than their colleagues. In either case, it’s about finding the right lawyer for the right client. The best lawyer for auto accident cases is not the best medical malpractice lawyer even though both are personal injury cases. The same is true in every area of the law. Maybe you’re a truck driver who needs a criminal defense attorney who has a deep familiarity with MDOT regulations, rather than federal drug cases. Maybe you know an aspiring restaurant owner who needs a business lawyer who’s an expert on liquor licenses. Sadly, these specializations can be hard to spot when you don’t have an inside view of the industry. In the 25 years since passing the bar, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know some incredible professionals across all different fields of the law. Many are specialists with too niche an audience to put themselves on TV. That’s why I always encourage my former clients to give me a call when they’re facing
Sonny looking sharp!
any legal question. Even if it’s not my area of the law, I can refer them to someone who’d be a perfect fit for their needs and whose track record has won my trust. I’m less savvy when it comes to dog breeds, I’m afraid. For that sort of advice, you should talk with owners and breeders about their experience. After all, much like choosing a lawyer, choosing a dog is a big decision that can impact you and your family’s life for the foreseeable future. Were it not for our fateful choice at the breeder’s house all those years ago, Sonny might not be the beloved part of our household he is today!
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-Paul J. Tafel ski
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