Today’s blog is close to my heart. And it probably will be to you as well.
As an attorney, I cannot list myself as an expert in any field (unless I am an IP or Patent attorney…but I digress). We can focus, concentrate and center our practice in one area. We cannot claim to be an expert in that one area.
Last week a colleague of mine wrote to advise me I was listed as an expert in Pet Trusts in a WebMD Vet Article. She went on to say I was wrong in what I said about a Pet Protection agreement. I was very glad my colleague wrote to me about the article, and that I had been incorrect in some information reflected by the writer. A very lovely veterinarian interviewed me for this article and the information she provided to her colleagues listed me as a Pet Legal Expert. This is clearly wrong since as I said above, attorneys cannot be listed as experts.
I learned at least two important lessons from this experience. First, one needs to ask to read what someone writes for accuracy, and always make sure you say you are not an expert. The latter I had done, however the former I did not ask to do which, as we say, would have alleviated the need for the latter. Following my logic here?
Frankly, I am not a Pet Trust or Pet Protection agreement aficionado. My colleague who emailed me is. I was interviewed for a piece introducing veterinarians to the concept of Pet Trusts and Pet Protection Agreements. In the article, the writer, a very well respected veterinarian from the Animal Medical Center in NYC referred to me as a Pet Legal Expert. I do handle conflicts between people involving animals, I have litigated these matters in the past, and now I mediate for the parties.
My practice is focused, centered and concentrates on the practice of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Animal Conflicts between people over animals. Pet Legal Expert may be spreading my credentials on a bit thick, yet I am one of the only mediators whose concentration is strictly pet conflicts between people. It is a new area of practice and is evolving daily. Anyone who believes they are a “Pet Legal Expert” will need to update their information daily to retain the “Pet Legal Expert” moniker.
Yet in writing the article where I am listed as an expert, which I am not, and stating one detail incorrectly; a Pet Protection Agreement cannot be invaded by the PPA Guardian’s Creditors. The vet provided information which had led to a discussion here to fore which had not been in discussion among vets. These vets now have her article, pet trust and pet protection agreement information (which was graciously corrected in the comment box below the article in a very professional manner by my colleague whom I wrote and called to thank)
And isn’t this the most important part of all?
We can never get everything right, even if we are experts. We can never get it wrong if we are open to correction, gratefully given, that continues the discussion on a very important subject.
I am not an expert in Pet Trusts. I work in a field, Alternative Dispute Resolution /Animal Conflict Resolution, which is changing constantly. I open discussions about things pet owners should consider to avoid litigation and resolve conflicts on their own terms. If in fact someone reads the Vet WebMD Article and finds it interesting and goes to their attorney for further information or buys the book recommended to educate ones self, so much the better.
I’ve created a space for discussion. I take correction gratefully. I am never averse to seeing things several ways. Isn’t that, after all, the basis of mediation?
I am no expert on specific matters of animal law. I am concentrating and focusing on while centering my practice on the discussion of conflicts arising between people over an animal. With that comes a multitude of opinions. I welcome them and look forward to being corrected.
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