A certified specialist in personal injury and wrongful death law, Sorensen is a shareholder at Burch & Cracchiolo with a busy mediation and arbitration practice. With more than 35 years of litigation experience in both state and federal court, her practice focuses both on providing mediation and arbitration services and handling aggravated liability and damages matters that include federal motor carrier (trucking accident) cases, vehicular products liability matters, construction site injury and death matters as well as premise liability cases.
For Sorensen, the decision to become certified by the state seemed like a natural progression in her already prolific career.
“In the late 1990s, I was part of a very talented group of attorneys trying — and winning — cases on a regular basis. There was a two-year period in which I tried 14 cases to juries,” she says. “Although I certainly knew I had much more experience than the average attorney in my area of practice, it was both satisfying and a tremendous honor to receive bar-sanctioned recognition of that hard work.”
And it has become a tangible way — for Sorensen and other specialists — to demonstrate to legal consumers that they have all the skills and experience necessary to handle a potential new client’s case.
But for Sorensen achieving certification wasn’t enough, she wanted to become more involved in the process and work with other professionals like herself who recognize the value of certification. Over the last decade Sorensen has held a series of important and influential positions within the State Bar from serving as a member, and then as chair, of the Personal Injury Advisory Commission to the Board of Legal Specialization. After “graduating” to the Board of Legal Specialization, she served as a member of the BLS and eventually was named by the Supreme Court to serve as chair of that board.
“One of the things that we’re working on is trying to assure that the standards for certification are appropriate to the realities of practice,” she says. “For example, when I was first certified as a specialist, the requirements for personal injury and wrongful death certification were different – primarily focused on the number of cases tried because we tried more cases then. As trials decreased, the certification standards changed, now requiring a show of proficiency in a variety of aspects of the practice, including trial work. Currently, the board is examining the certification requirements for certified specialists in criminal law to assure they are in step with the realities of the current criminal practice.