Been watching the latest update and seen a lot of casualty's especially those who have embarked on SEO or hired a SEO company to do work on their behalf.
I posted a message on Matt Cutts blog asking a question but not published nor answered.
To me it seems Google is going after sites which it deems are trying to game the system in one way or another, a friend of mine has just been hit really hard since the latest 2.0 update, his site has passed and gained through the previous updates but this one hit hard, looking over the site the back-link profile is ok some really good links and like most sites a few links that could be questionable but the point here is it survived every other update up to now.
He stopped link building at the end of 2011 but from what i see it looks like Google has implemented something into this algorithm which looks like its going after anyone who has embarked on any kind of link building campaign past or present so could Google be gunning for all that have had some kind of link building done as basically if you buy an SEO service they will get you links of whatever nature but could this not be interpreted as trying to gain rankings which are outside of Google T&C's
as mentioned in previous posts im seeing sites with no SEO done very little backlinks hitting some good positions so for me it seems like google is trying to stop the webspam at whatever cost but taking a lot of innocent sites in its way
If I go directly to answering your question, I think it's a No.
Hiring an SEO expert or specialist does not necessarily equate to buying links.
It is all about the method he (or his company) uses. When a certain SEO expert says "I can guarantee you #1 ranking with 50 links", by all means never hire this guy.
Hire the one that says "Our goal is to slowly rank in Google's first page in this specific keyword or set of keywords. We will establish relationships with people in the industry and we will create a community of readers and users that will help us get there."