There are two important things for both a lawyer and their potential client to consider: competence and comfort.
In Alberta, all practising lawyers are members of the Law Society of Alberta. As well as undertaking the general regulation of the profession, the Law Society is very concerned that any lawyer practising in Alberta is competent. This, in itself, is a strong safeguard for all clients.
Lawyers do not, however, have officially sanctioned specialties the ways doctors do. It is therefore always worth asking any lawyer you intend to hire about their experience in dealing with the work you intend to send them. Or, if the lawyer is inexperienced, do they have access to other lawyers who can guide them? Or are they frank enough to say your problem is new to them (and, yes, you may be in a novel and unique situation) but they are willing to work from their competence base to learn what needs be done?
If the help you’re seeking is routine, you should ask friends or business associates if they have ever faced a similar situation and, if so, was their lawyer helpful?
Many situations where you need legal help are themselves sources of stress and anxiety. You may have to disclose very personal information to your lawyer so they can work effectively for you. You need the comfort of knowing the lawyer will both acknowledge the impact the legal issue has on you; in turn your lawyer needs to know you have been frank and open with them.
Again, as you consult with your friends, business associates, and the lawyer themselves, raise these questions, and make sure you are satisfied with the answers. In the end, lawyers do want to help and do want to deal with your legal issues, as much as you want that help and resolution.