These are the days of the specialist, in almost every aspect of work. And that is certainly true of lawyers. A lawyer who specializes in employment law will get to a much faster, and probably better, result than a generalist.
And while her hourly rate may be higher, the total fee may be less than someone who only has a passing familiarity with that aspect of the law.
That said, I believe there is room for the generalist in today’s legal world if properly utilized. In fact, he could be more valuable than the specialist.
The Generalist I have in mind is someone who is either employed by the business, is on retainer, or otherwise has a relationship with the business such that he can be called upon on short notice to look at the issue and either resolve it himself, or hand it off to someone he knows will be the right fit for the work, and then supervise that lawyer to be sure the business is getting exactly what it needs, at a fair cost for the work.
This Generalist would need to a) have a fair amount of legal experience, b) know the business very, very well, and c) have access to a variety of legal specialists he knows and can call upon. I’ve written about the Generalist, and where I believe we are headed in the management of legal work.
So don’t discount the value a client can receive from the Generalist who has extended life and legal experience, knows the business almost as well as the client, and shares with him or her a deep mutual trust and respect.