When you become a lawyer, one of the first decisions you’ll have to make is which area of law you want to focus on. There are dozens of practice areas you can pick from, and each comes with its own particular advantages and disadvantages. Your choice will depend on your interests and what you want your career to look like.
Below, we’ll discuss some of the most common types of lawyers and practice areas.
Personal Injury Lawyers
Personal injury attorneys help accident victims get the compensation they’re owed for their pain and suffering.
They can work on a wide variety of personal injury cases, including car accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and more. They negotiate with insurance companies for a fair settlement and take them to court if that’s what it takes to get the money their client deserves.
Estate Planning Lawyers
Estate planning lawyers help clients arrange how their assets will get passed on after their death. They can help clients create a will or set up a trust and ensure that their final wishes are realized once they’re gone. They can even help clients decide how to divide their assets and arrange for donations and other special circumstances.
Bankruptcy lawyers guide clients through the process of declaring bankruptcy. These lawyers advise clients on whether they’re eligible for bankruptcy and whether it’s the best choice for them.
If they decide that bankruptcy is the best option, a bankruptcy lawyer can help them choose which type of bankruptcy is right for them.
Intellectual Property Lawyers
Intellectual property lawyers help their clients protect their rights to the intellectual property they create.
For instance, if you come up with a new product or design that you need to copyright or trademark, they can guide you through that process. They can also help clients file lawsuits if someone else tries to steal their intellectual property.
Employment lawyers mediate the employer-employee relationship and clarify any issues that may arise.
In some cases, they work with employers who are having problems with an employee. In others, they represent employees who have received unfair treatment at the hands of their employer.
They interpret the terms of the employment contract and advise each party on the best way to proceed.
Corporate lawyers focus less on employee-specific challenges and more on incorporation issues. They can help business owners decide if incorporation is the best choice for them and help them navigate that process. They can also help businesses manage compliance issues and organize their governance structure.
Immigration lawyers guide clients through the complex process of immigrating to another country. They can assist with visa applications, citizenship applications, asylum petitions, and more.
These lawyers also protect immigrants against exploitative work situations and other such risks.
Criminal Law Attorneys
Criminal lawyers deal with people accused of crimes and can work on either side of the law.
Some criminal lawyers work as prosecutors, building a case against the accused party. Others defend accused criminals, working to prove their innocence or build reasonable doubt in the jury.
Tax lawyers help their clients to navigate the complex issues surrounding tax law in the United States. They sometimes work with businesses, helping them stay compliant and manage their taxes.
Other lawyers work with individuals facing charges of tax fraud or other such issues.
Family lawyers handle the delicate negotiations involved in divorces, annulments, and custody arrangements.
They represent their clients during divorces and help answer questions about alimony, child support, etc. They can also mediate divorce agreements.
Select Your Practice Area
There are dozens of practice areas lawyers can choose to specialize in. Although we’ve covered the most common here, a lawyer may focus on constitutional law, entertainment law, contract law, and many other areas. Which area you choose depends on your particular interests and your career goals.