Simas & Associates, Ltd. Leads Specialization Effort for Administrative Law
Sacramento, CA -
Steven L. Simas, Owner and Founder of Simas & Associates, Ltd. was elected Chairperson of the Administrative Law Section
of the Sacramento County Bar Association for 2014. And one of his stated goals for this year
is to successfully apply for legal specialization of the practice of Administrative Law
"This has been an ongoing effort by past Chairs and members of the Executive Committee of the Administrative Law section," explained Mr. Simas. "Given the complexities that often arise in the confines of executive rule making through the overlap of administrative law in action with criminal law and vehicles of civil litigation, I think it is beyond time for the State Bar of California
to recognize Administrative Law as a legal practice area requiring specialized knowledge."
The State Bar of California's Board of Legal Specialization
presently certifies specialists in 11 practice areas, including appellate law
, bankruptcy law, criminal law, family law, malpractice law
, taxation law, and workers compensation law, among others Specialization does not mean that the practice area will only be limited to those who met these credentialing requirements," explained Mr. Simas. "Rather, it permits those with the appropriate credentials to distinguish themselves as being 'specialized' in that particular practice area."
Attorneys certified as specialists have taken and passed a written examination in their specialty field (only offered every 2 years), demonstrated a high level of experience in the specialty field, fulfilled ongoing education requirements and been favorably evaluated by other attorneys and judges familiar with their work. There is also separate requirements for each specialization type. They are also required to pay an annual fee - $350.00 - and a re-certification fee every 5 years - $360.00. In exchange, only these attorneys can advertise or identify themselves as "certified" specialists in California in their practice. And that is because they are the only attorneys who are certified either by The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization or an organization whose certification program has been accredited by the State Bar.
Obviously, this provides the attorney who is considered specialized an advantage over his peers in advertising his background and experience. The State Bar's Legal Specialist Search
will actually direct you to a list of specialty areas that are certified either by the State Bar or an organization accredited by the State Bar.
"But in reality, this 'advantage' is does nothing more than helping the general public," continued Mr. Simas. "Presently, there is no way for someone to know with any certainty that someone who claims to have an extensive understanding of the APA [i.e. California Administrative Procedure Act
], Writs of Administrative Mandate
, or the Bid Protest regulations of the Department of General Services can stand up to their claims. And when they crash and burn, it is often too late for the client. No, the specialization status will help the potential clients and legal employers distinguish those with the singular focus in administrative law from those who only dabble in it."
It is about getting the matter to someone specially qualified early in the administrative law matter. "As attorneys who regularly file writs of mandate and writs of administrative mandate," continued Mr. Simas, "we see so many cases from our clients where disaster could have been averted had the case been handled by someone experienced with administrative law. These licensing matters are not traffic tickets; you cannot just have your lawyer-friend or lawyer-uncle show up, look the part, and expect to get good results."
And if they do, it is doubly difficult - if not impossible - to undo their missteps. "Sometimes, it just becomes too late," shrugged Mr. Simas. "So, with specialization, we are hoping to take a proactive step to addressing this all-too-common problem."
Presently, the application for specialization is nearing submission stage. "Yes, all members of the Executive Committee had contributed feedback," stated Mr. Simas. "I am presently incorporating my own thoughts and making revisions. The goals is to submit the application at some point this autumn."
For more information on our Issue Advocacy
and Administrative Law
services, please visit our website at www.simasgovlaw.com