They say never hide anything from your doctor and your lawyer. If anyone can save you, it is them. Well, lawyers and doctors share a similar footing in other connotations as well. Just like a doctor can’t be expected to treat ailments in all parts of the body, a lawyer can’t be expected to help in all sector. As a result, specialization leads to segregation and we find approximately 18 types of lawyers.
An overview of what these specializations encompass in terms of duties and service providing.
Business Law is vast and these Lawyers deal with a variety of issues ranging from employment to acquisitions. While most lawyers are focused on the simple legal tasks such as forming your company; some are all encompassing and handle all business needs- be it employment problems or tax compliance. You’ll find some lawyers wielding their expertise at small startups and some at large enterprises. When searching for legal aid, keep in mind that these are 2 significantly different Business Lawyers.
|Business Transactional||Business Litigation|
|Those who handle transactions and drafting documents.
Example: Negotiating deals, employment agreements.
|Those who handle Lawsuits. Example: When someone sues your company for violation of terms of contract or misdemeanor, etc.|
A family lawyer’s job is to handle all problems that connect directly or indirectly (although significant) to family issues. So custody lawyers, child support attorneys, the common divorce lawyers all fall under this category. Problems revolving around marriage and children- be it custody battles, prenuptial agreements, divorce, separation, division of property (inherited and otherwise) are taken care of by these lawyers.
I think we’re all familiar with who criminal lawyers are, but to sum up- they help defend people or criminals accused of having committed a crime. Their aim is to get minimum or no sentence to jail or death for their clients. There are lawyers who defend clients of minor offenses like shoplifting or pick-pocketing; While DUI defense lawyers and the like take up more serious felonies like drug trafficking, murder, rape, DUI and more.
As the name suggests, these lawyers handle issues pertaining to employment and labour. They make sure companies (especially private) are complying with the labour laws passed by the state. Like corporate lawyers, employment attorneys are also of two types:
|Litigation Employment Lawyers||Transactional Employment Lawyers|
|They go to court to argue the violation of Laws, terms of a contract, wrongful termination, workplace discrimination and the like.||They serve in drafting employment terms and documents when a new employee is hired or laid off.|
Personal Injury Lawyers deal with personal injuries and physical accidents of all kinds. These are the Lawyers you want to get in touch with when you have a car accident, suffer bad side effects from a prescribed medicine or a doctor misdiagnoses your illness. Some Lawyers specialize further and become car accident lawyers or medical malpractice lawyers etc. However, they all fall under the same umbrella of Personal Injury. Their cases usually end in massive financial compromises, involving insurance companies. In such cases, it becomes especially important to choose the right lawyer, because a good lawyer can turn the tables multiple times and assist you in recovering a large monetary reward.
In essence, the job of a tax lawyer is ensure that businesses and individuals comply with the laws of the state by helping them file their tax returns. However, most of them, often also defend their clients in court in the event of the IRS auditing them. The Lawyers often save their clients from potential jail time and/or considerable fines.
Extremely well-versed in finance, securities and tax laws Mergers and Acquisition Lawyers assist in buying and selling of companies. The sale and purchase of big companies, especially the ones which influence the market greatly is often a lengthy, tedious process. Many a times, company mergers take place as well. Such Merger and Acquisition strategies and processes are taken care of by the M&A Lawyers as they draw up suitable and convenient deals without violation of laws.
These are highly specialized lawyers who render services in an extremely specific sector of law. They work on issues related to banks, issuing of money (on an individual basis) and stocks sold by companies. However, they sometimes defend their clients against IRS/SEC complaints in court as well.
Real Estate Lawyers deal with almost any and every issue pertaining to property and real estate. Just like corporate and employment lawyers, these lawyers are also segregated into two types.
|They argue in court in the event of violation of terms of agreement between the tenant and landlord or sale and purchase between two parties.||Negotiate with both parties during real estate transactions and draft documents accordingly.|
Most Real estate lawyers specialize in either commercial, residential real estate or personal property, so you may want to choose your lawyer accordingly.
The Job of Estate Planning Lawyers is intriguingly vast. It ranges from creating trusts to assist your child’s college fund to ensuring rightful distribution of property and assets when one dies. In cases where a will is missing and assets have to go through probate, a probate lawyer comes into the picture. Their job is to argue and convince the judge how the assets/ property will be distributed.
11. Legal Malpractice or Professional Responsibility Lawyer
A very niche subset, they are basically lawyers for lawyers. They sue or defend attorneys when they have violated their duties to a client, spurred the court in a wrong direction, violated their code of ethics as given in the professional guidelines. Many a times, legal malpractice lawyers are hired by firms beforehand, just to ensure that the lawyer hired for business, etc. doesn’t engage them in any felony.
Intellectual Property lawyers ensure the protection of intellectual property. Now, IP is intangible in essence; thus bringing ideas, songs, poetry etc. under its purview. There are 3 main sectors of IP.
Patent laws, being more complex, require further licensing and a technical background like one in engineering or medicine.
Like most areas of Law, IP law has the usual subdivision of duties and specializations as well:
|NORMAL IP||IP LITIGATORS|
|Protect your Intellectual Property via the necessary filings.||Battle your ownership in court if a dispute rises with respect to intellectual property.|
Bankruptcy Lawyers help get you out of debts by working through bankruptcy or by filing your documents for bankruptcy. Some Lawyers represent the debtor ad some the creditor, so you choose according to your convenience. 3 of the most common specialization in bankruptcy are -
|Chapter 7||Chapter 11||Chapter 13|
|When one wants to dissolve their assets to eliminate their debts.||When one is willing to get back on track and intends to restructure his/her debts.||Restructuring debts for a more affordable payment schedule while keeping most assets.|
An immigration lawyer will help you with anything concerned with getting an employee or a family member or any known individual into your country. They take care of numerous forms that need to be filed with each government entity and the complex laws intertwined with the whole process.
Civil Litigation encompasses real estate law, business law, labour law and more. A civil attorney thus handles all litigations that are non-criminal. So naturally, all fields, except criminal defense law, that are concerned with litigation are actually specializations in the field of civil law.
These lawyers, although being high-volume and high in demand, only perform one of two small cases for a clients. More familiarly known as traffic ticket lawyers or speeding ticket attorneys, these are the people you want to go to if you want advice on how to get out of trouble for violating traffic rules. They will also go to court and argue against the citations on your behalf. Many of these lawyers double as criminal lawyers who will fight for DUI or DWI as and when needed.
Just like the internet has eaten up many jobs, it has carved a pathway for many as well. For attorneys, it has opened up a whole new realm. These lawyers are popularly known as cyber lawyers or internet defamation attorneys take care of everything starting from the terms and conditions of a website, privacy, cyber-crime, copyright laws and more. This new sector of law is ever evolving; much like the industry it operates in.
These lawyers deal with all issues related to entertainment; however, their expertise lies in entertainment contracts. Management contracts, licensing agreements, contracts connected to royalties, etc. are reviewed and often drafted by these lawyers. Some lawyers further specialize in music law, sports law and more and are thus more adept in those fields.
A step by step guide on what to look for when you’re choosing a law firm for help.
1. Ability and Service
Check whether the law firm has the ability to provide you with adequate results and good service. Go through the reviews, speak to past clients if possible. Speak to some of their lawyers and find out about their background and quality of work. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and walk away if you feel the slightest hunch of something not being quite right. 98% chances are, you are right.
Keep asking questions. Make sure that the firm’s successes outweigh its failures adequately. Most lawyers have almost no substantial trial experience (and especially in case of personal injury situations), make sure that your attorney does. Even when the case is settled outside court, remember that a lawyer with sufficient experience can give you a huge upper hand in the bargain.
3. To Know how
Not all law firms are good at handling all cases. However, what seems to be a necessity, is the ability to negotiate. Find out if your attorney is adept with these unique skills and what specialized training he has. Tally it with the firm’s results.
4. Martindale-Hubbell Rating
Martindale- Hubbell is a well-known international resource that evaluates lawyers’ reputations among those who know his work best – other lawyers. Check your attorney’s rating, the best are rated AV.
5. Bigger doesn’t have to mean better
In large firms, the uniqueness of each case and client is often lost in the shuffle of numerous forever piling cases. Make sure your lawyer is treating you as the most important client. Don’t compromise, don’t settle for less.
6. Strategic Partnership
Find if the law firm partners with other lawyers or law firms to strengthen a client’s case. If it’s a smaller firm, make sure they’re not eager to partner with bigger ones just to be associated with a more well- known name and is actually combining research and expertise for a better legal team.
7. Contingency Fee
It is important to find a firm which works on contingency fee basis. Fees are paid only after your compensation is recovered.