In this podcast, Lee Sanderson of the American Academy for Certified Financial Litigators (AACFL), discusses the practical and marketable value of financial certification for lawyers and how it can help them differentiate themselves.
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Podcast Show Notes
Lee Sanderson is a financial professional and business owner. He is one of the co-founders of the American Academy for Certified Financial Litigators, which provides its members with customized training and certification in the financial aspects of litigation.
Connect with Lee on LinkedIn or Email
How does AACFL help distinguish attorneys from one another?
When attorneys participate in the training, they are able to promote the fact that they are a certified financial litigator. Clients want the most well-informed attorneys, and financial knowledge is something that helps attorneys stand out. As a result, this certification is able to help attorneys attract more high net worth clients. Lawyers who have this type of training are able to handle cases more efficiently and highlight key financial issues in court.
Certified Attorneys vs. Industry Experts
Sometimes cases can’t afford experts and experts aren’t always available which is why financial certification can help lawyers be more effective. However, when lawyers are in a situation where they need to to introduce evidence, they probably would need to hire an outside expert. The AACFL certification and training is able to help attorneys recognize when they do need an expert. For example, when a case is focused on finances such as how much a business is worth, you’ll always need an independent expert to testify when evidence is introduced. But even when you do use an outside expert, the AACFL certification is incredibly useful when you’re cross-examining them and are able to speak the same language.
Is it a big time commitment to become a certified financial litigator?
Having advanced financial knowledge is invaluable and becoming a certified financial litigator is not a big time commitment. It’s an online course that lawyers can take in their own time. They can utilize printed materials or videos to complete each module. The whole certification can be completed in 10-15 hours at an attorney’s own pace.
The Value of Financial Certification for Lawyers
The marketing aspect of this certification has exploded recently. Today financially sophisticated clients scrutinize who they’re going to hire as a lawyer much more than in the past. They want financially sophisticated attorneys. The better you can equip yourself as an attorney, the more you’ll be able to help your clients and yourself.
Some law firm marketing directors have had their whole staff trained and certified. They’ve made the decision that they want to focus on high net worth clients. Then, they work on press releases, updating attorney bios, and promoting their firm’s commitment to financial education so that they can be seen by the public as the go-to firm for sophisticated financial issues. Legal skills combined with this certification creates an unstoppable, marketable dynamic.
What clients are looking for is shifting and the financial world is changing rapidly which is why gaining financial knowledge is essential for lawyers. The old paradigm of “I’ll just call a CPA if I have a question”, is of the past. Lawyers are gaining knowledge and you don’t want to be left behind. Becoming certified in an area of expertise can be one of the most powerful marketing tools for attorneys.
If you’re interested in learning more about AACFL’s training and certification, you can view their informational booklet here.