The Types of Lawyers
A law degree leads to many job options. You could find yourself working in medical or legal malpractice, family law, civil rights, employment disputes, and more. Specialized legal professionals are a necessary component for almost every sector. So, what types of lawyers are there?
There are around 30 different areas of law that lawyers can specialize in. Each area presents an opportunity to focus your legal career in a specific direction.
For example, you may find that you prefer criminal law over drafting contracts or wills. By knowing the different types of law and what they entail, you can make a more informed decision about where you want to take your legal career.
How Can You Differentiate Yourself In The Field Of Law?
To assist you to choose a specialty and figuring out which type of lawyer you want to be, we’ve prepared this comprehensive list of the many legal specialties and their responsibilities for their customers:
- They need to prepare their legal documentation and represent them in court.
- Bankruptcy attorneys guide clients on the timing to file for bankruptcy in their best interests and what sort of bankruptcy to choose.
- It is also their job to inform clients about legal strategies to declare personal bankruptcy being that there is a choice.
Civil Litigation Law
If you’re embroiled in a lawsuit, whether as the plaintiff or defendant, a civil litigation attorney can help.
- These lawyers subspecialize in various areas of civil law such as commercial disputes, corporate legal issues, and environmental suits.
Civil Rights Law
This specialty defends people against charges that they have committed civil wrongs, such as assault or wrongful imprisonment. The other types of civil wrongs are:
- Civil Liberties
- Voting Rights
- Human Rights Discrimination is based on sex, race, age, religion, gender, national origin, and physical or mental disability.
This specialty of lawyers helps clients draft and format legally binding contracts.
- They also provide counsel about contractual issues, lead negotiations, and handle breach-of-contract litigation.
If you are a business owner, it is important to have a corporate lawyer on retainer to consult with on any legal matters about the formation or operation of your company.
- Services offered by these lawyers include incorporating businesses, drafting contracts, handling mergers and acquisitions, and resolving disputes between shareholders or between the company and other parties (such as customers, employees, or vendors).
Criminal lawyers provide arguments and support to clients who have been accused of breaking the law.
- They will be by their side from the arrest until sentencing (and possible appeals).
Digital Media and Internet Law
Internet and digital media lawyers manage court cases revolving around the internet or technology.
- Their clients might need support with online piracy, copyright laws, website terms, and conditions, or safeguarding children from online predators.
Divorce And Family Law
A family lawyer will work in this area of law. As this area of law focuses on assisting clients in child custody matters, divorce, and property division, child support, domestic violence, civil unions, adoptions, and other family concerns.
Employment or Labor Law
If you want to become a lawyer who helps protect the rights of workers, you may want to specialize in employment or labor law.
- These lawyers represent employees who have been wrongfully terminated, discriminated against, or harassed at work.
Creative professionals, such as musicians and actors, often need the help of an entertainment lawyer.
- These attorneys provide legal services related to disputes surrounding creative contracts, advise clients, and review documents for legality.
- An environmental focussed lawyer specializes in cases involving environmental regulation, public health, compliance, disputes about land or coastline use, and the legislative protection of natural resources.
An estate planning attorney principally writes and puts into effect clients’ wills or trusts. In other words, they strategize and oversee their client’s estates.
- If you work in this area of law, you will create trusts and make sure that everyone involved follows your clients’ directions regarding the trust to a tee.
- Estate planning lawyers also tell their customers about life insurance, retirement plans, and gifts to charities.
- If somebody challenges the estate of a deceased person, then estate lawyers defend them in court.
Finance and Securities Law
Finance and securities lawyers work with clients to navigate the legal complexities of financial transactions, including stocks, bonds, and real estate.
General Practice Law
General-practice attorneys, unlike other specialists, are masters of all trades. They have the ability and knowledge to represent and advise clients in a variety of fields.
These varying types of law include:
- civil litigation
- criminal law
- family law
- personal injury
- real estate law, and more.
Government lawyers work for the government at different levels, including state, federal, county, and municipal.
- They handle similar cases to private attorneys but with a focus on those that affect governing bodies.
Immigration attorneys help clients with applying for green cards, seeking asylum, obtaining visas, becoming US citizens, and appealing removals.
- They also advise foreign businesses on how to register in the United States.
Intellectual Property Law
When individuals need expert assistance for their physical or intangible concepts, designs, inventions, or other intellectual property, they turn to IP lawyers.
- IP attorneys help clients with issues such as patents, copyright infringement, and trademarks and breaches thereof.
Legal Malpractice Law
A legal malpractice attorney is a lawyer who defends other lawyers against claims of breaching their responsibilities to clients, failing to serve the client’s best interests, or acting in ways that are not up to par with accepted legal standards.
Admiralty law focuses on legal disputes concerning water. For example:
- An Admiralty attorney may help a company with nautical issues involving domestic and foreign shipping routes, naval accidents, and maritime piracy.
- Maritime laws also extend to American waters and any navigable waters by US vessels.
- Consequently, these attorneys need broad international legal knowledge.
Medical Malpractice Law
Medical malpractice attorneys defend physicians or other health professionals charged with medical misconduct. When a health professional is accused of making substantial medical errors.
Some of these errors could be:
- delivering the incorrect treatment
- inappropriately handling a patient
- performing surgery incorrectly
- or committing an act of carelessness
- He or she usually hires one of these types of lawyers. These occurrences may involve wrongful death in certain circumstances.
Mergers and Acquisitions Law
Lawyers specializing in mergers and acquisitions help companies buy, sell, or merge with other businesses. They need to be very familiar with the different rules set by the government regulating bodies that oversee these types of deals, including:
- laws related to taxes
- securities, and so on.
JAGs, or Judge Advocate Generals, are military lawyers who handle civil and criminal cases for members of the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, and other US military branches.
- A JAG may preside over proceedings such as a military review or court-martial.
Personal Injury Law
- Personal injury attorneys represent clients in court cases involving injuries caused by another person’s negligence.
- A personal injury lawyer, for example, will defend a client who was injured or whose family member died as a result of someone else’s carelessness.
Property or Real Estate Law
Land and real estate attorneys advise clients about land and real estate deals. They prepare legally enforceable contracts for the sale or rental of properties, including issues surrounding:
- property ownership
- property development
- tenant rights
- landlord concerns
- … other property disputes.
Public Interest Law
Lawyers who focus on education, non-profit organizations (NGOs), and international organizations concerned with social justice problems are the most typical representatives of this area.
- They aim to assist others in overcoming unjust situations.
Tax lawyers work with individuals and companies dealing with tax-related issues.
- A tax lawyer, for example, can confirm that a person’s or company’s actions are by tax regulations and can assist clients in lowering their taxes.
Toxic Tort Law
Toxic tort lawyers represent people who have been harmed by exposure to hazardous materials, such as asbestos.
- These lawyers work with clients who have suffered severe health problems because of exposure to toxic chemicals.
Traffic or DUI Law
A person who is charged with a DUI or DWI will need the help of a lawyer who specializes in those types of cases.
- This type of lawyer can assist their client by posting bail, entering pleas, and providing representation throughout the entire case.
Workers’ Compensation Law
This lawyer will help those injured at work navigate the process of filing a claim and recovering costs associated with medical bills, time off work, and injuries. A workers’ compensation attorney may also help the family of a worker who died as a result of an accident.
Lastly, A Paralegal
Paralegals are legal assistants who help attorneys in law firms.
- They help with research, filing papers, drafting, and other responsibilities.
- In most states, it is not necessary to pass the state bar exam to be a paralegal.
What Is Next?…
The legal industry is full of various career paths, so it’s important to choose the route that best suits your skills and passions. If you’re unsure which path to take, we suggest meeting with people working in your fields of interest before or during your first year of law school. This way, you can learn more about what they do on a day-to-day basis and see if their work is the right fit for you.