DIFFERENT TYPES OF LAWYERS AND WHAT THEY DO
Most people assume that a lawyer can provide any legal service needed, and technically they may be right as a law degree provides a lawyer with a license to practice all law. However, because laws are so vast and all-encompassing, most lawyers will specialize in one or a couple of related fields of law. Below are some of the most common types of law practiced in the United States.
Corporate or Business Law
The business law includes the areas of employment, mergers, and acquisitions, intellectual property and basic legal tasks like the forming of a company and tax compliance. Business law is further subdivided into transactional lawyers that handle the negotiation of deals and drafting legal documents while litigation lawyers handle lawsuits and represent clients in court.
Labor and Employment Law
All matters related to employment and compliance with state and federal law are handled by these lawyers. Much like business lawyers, transactional employment lawyers deal with the drafting of legal documents while litigation employment lawyers handle violations of the terms of state law or employment contracts.
M & A Law
Mergers and Acquisitions lawyers handle the buying and selling of companies and are well versed in securities, tax, and finance laws to ensure that agreements regarding the purchase or sale of a company are constructed correctly.
Finance and Securities Law
These lawyers operate in a specific sector of the law and deal only with bank-related issues, company stock sales, or issuing of money by individuals. The also defend clients in cases where the SEC or IRS files complaints against a corporation or an individual.
Intellectual property lawyers deal with an intangible property like copyright, trademarks, and patent rights. Patent law is one of the areas in the law that requires further licensing as well as a technical background in chemistry, engineering, life sciences, or software development. IP lawyers specialize in filings that are required to protect the intellectual property of clients and litigating IP lawyers represents clients in disputes regarding the ownership of intellectual property and how much protection it offers an individual.
Estate Planning Law
These lawyers ensure that family matters relating to property are in order. It includes drawing up trusts, drafting wills, and ensuring assets are properly distributed upon the death of a client. A subset of Estate Law is Probate Law, and these lawyers deal with the probate court where assets are left without a will.
Tax lawyers ensure that business and individual tax filings comply with state and federal laws. They can also defend a client when the IRS has filed a claim against them. Most tax lawyers also deal with estate planning and some work for large corporations with a team of lawyers.
Criminal Defense Law
These lawyers defend clients accused of a crime against the government. They handle prosecutions ranging from shoplifting to serious crimes such as DUI, assault and battery, drug trafficking, and murder or attempted murder charges. Many criminal defense lawyers have worked on the side of prosecuting at the DA’s office while at law school or afterward. The aim is to help clients get acquitted or to reduce sentences and fines.
Traffic lawyers fight traffic violations in court on behalf of their clients. Some traffic lawyers also handle DWI and DUI cases.
Personal Injury Law
These lawyers deal with injuries and accidents including car accidents, misdiagnosis of illness by a doctor, injury from a defective product, harmful side effects from prescription drugs, and related issues. These high profile cases can lead to large financial settlements and often involve insurance companies. Compensation is based on contingency fees which mean they are paid a percentage of the settlement awarded, or nothing if the case is lost.
These lawyers help clients file for bankruptcy or get out of debt. Some lawyers represent only debtors while others represent creditors. There are different types of bankruptcy cases, and some lawyers choose to specialize in certain sectors of bankruptcy law and specific types of claims.
Civil Litigation Law
These lawyers handle non-criminal litigation from breach of contract to landlord issues.
Other types of lawyers include:
– Digital Media & Internet Lawyers
– Immigration Lawyers
– Entertainment Lawyers
– Legal Malpractice or Professional Responsibility Lawyers
– Real Estate Lawyer