Types of Lawyers. How many times have we dreamed of being the next great lawyer, like Clarence Darrow or the fictional Harvey Spectre? Growing up, many of us envisioned standing in a courtroom and getting our man to admit his guilt through a series of chess moves or finding the real killer and letting our client leave a free man—the power of the imagination.
Types of Lawyers
The justice system isn’t all about sending drug dealers, rapists, and kidnappers to prison with 20-year life sentences, though. It also entails defending intellectual property, protecting corporations from frivolous lawsuits, and ensuring the right family member gets Grandpa’s collection of vintage drachmas and Deutschmarks. Put simply, there are many types of law to practice.
What Is a Lawyer?
A lawyer is a licensed professional who advises and/or represents clients in legal matters. There are many types of lawyers, all of whom cover different areas of the law, ranging from personal injury to criminal cases.
Types Of Lawyers
Each type of lawyer handles different aspects of the law and has varying responsibilities depending on their field. Below are the most common types of lawyers and what they do.
Mergers and Acquisitions Lawyer
Merger and acquisition lawyer roles and responsibilities include drafting the necessary contracts with all the parties involved in the business transaction, negotiating the best terms possible, and ensuring that all the documents are properly executed and filed where appropriate. Some business deals will also require permission from regulatory authorities or other government entities.
The legal issues that a merger and acquisition lawyer deals with are human resource issues, financing and tax implications, regulatory agency concerns, intellectual property, indemnification issues, etc.
A military lawyer (also referred to as a Judge Advocate General (JAG)) is similar to a general practice attorney in that they can represent military personnel in criminal and civil cases. They deal with military, civilian, and even international law. Furthermore, they prepare their clients for trial, draft documentation, maintain military handbooks, and deal with the technical writing of those handbooks.
Each lawyer must be an expert on highly particular legislation for some sort of law profession. As bankruptcy attorneys, lawyers must be well-versed in the US Bankruptcy Code. There are two categories of bankruptcy attorneys: those who specialize in consumer bankruptcy and those who are well-versed in business bankruptcy.
Constitutional lawyers work to interpret and apply the United States Constitution while balancing the interests of government institutions and the people. A constitutional lawyer’s responsibilities may include contesting a piece of legislation’s legality, defending people in discrimination cases, or working as a constitutional law specialist at a university. Civil rights disputes may include constitutional attorneys who may debate legal issues before state supreme courts or even the United States Supreme Court.
Business Lawyer (Corporate Lawyer)
Also known as corporate lawyers, business lawyers are legal eagles who cover a full range of expertise in building, managing, maintaining, transferring, and dissolving a business. Lawyers in this area of practice deal with the formation of the company, employment contracts, tax compliance, acquisitions, and mergers.
Business lawyers may also settle employment and business disputes, as well as handle negotiations with individuals or corporate entities. They may choose to handle cases for large companies only, or they may prefer to be legal advisers to small businesses or startups.
Estate Planning Lawyer
As the name suggests, estate planning lawyers are experts in estate planning — they advise clients on property rights and help set up trusts and wills. They can help you evaluate the worth of your assets, gauge liabilities and ensure you handle the transfer of any assets properly and legally.
The estate planning lawyer is responsible for ensuring all proceedings happen according to the client’s wishes. Their knowledge of tax laws is crucial to understanding taxation based on your estate’s value.
Entertainment lawyers represent clients in cases where entertainment contracts are a matter of litigation. Entertainment attorneys advise clients, draft and review management contracts, trademark licensing agreements, and contract issues of apportionment or royalties connected to any creative or other aspect of the entertainment business.
Contract lawyers specialize in creating, updating, and enforcing legally binding contracts. Their presence is vital if you are disputing the legality of a contract or leading contract negotiations.
- Personal Injury Lawyer
Personal injury lawyers provide legal representation to clients who have been injured in any kind of accident. They work in what’s called “tort law,” or acts or omissions that could result in an accident or injury. That includes unattended safety issues, neglect, slip-and-fall accidents, animal bites and attacks, and other liability problems.
Tax lawyers are specialists in navigating local, state, and federal tax laws and regulations. They know the system inside and out and are experts in tax planning. Their skillset makes them valuable assets, especially to big corporations, accounting firms, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. They must continuously keep up with updates in tax laws, regulatory changes, IRS rulings, and relevant court sentences to understand how new tax laws will affect their clients.
When it comes to operating an aircraft, such as ground facilities, hangars, and airports, these would all fall to an aviation lawyer. These lawyers typically represent pilots, airlines, manufacturers, and consumers, and can act in both civil and criminal cases.
Intellectual Property (IP) Lawyer
Intellectual property lawyers protect their clients’ intellectual property. This can include copyrights, patents, trademarks, trade secrets, inventions, literary or artistic works, designs, images, and all other intangible, non-physical assets.
If you’re applying for U.S. citizenship, you’ll need an immigration lawyer to guide you. Navigating immigration laws can be complicated, and there are tonnes of paperwork to submit. If you miss out on one process, you’ll delay your chances of getting approved, so an immigration attorney is there to guide you through every step. They may also help with potential deportation cases, which you’ll want to avoid if you’re trying to keep your green card.
Finance and Securities Lawyer
Individuals or business entities that need assistance with cases involving the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) or SEC (Securities Exchange Commission) often employ finance and securities lawyers. These agencies serve to prevent fraud, market manipulation, and insider trading. Hiring these types of lawyers is in demand for cases involving stock trading, banking, or the treasury and may help your organization stay compliant with government regulations.
Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you’ve been injured while on the job or have had to face the death of a loved one as a result of a workplace accident or occupational disease, a lawyer who specializes in workers’ compensation law can help you navigate the issues you face, such as the extent of the employer’s fault and the number of benefits to which you are entitled.
Criminal Defense Lawyer
Criminal defense lawyers represent defendants in criminal law proceedings, including due diligence investigations, court discovery in preparation for trial, state or federal parole board review requests while an inmate or parole is still considered “property” of the state, and in gubernatorial pardon requests.
Civil Litigation Lawyer
Suing someone, or responding to someone’s lawsuit against you? A lawyer who specializes in civil litigation will be your best legal option. You may also find out that different lawyers will specialize in different litigation areas as well. For example, a corporate litigation lawyer should have the expertise to help with commercial litigation issues.
Social-Security Disability Lawyer
The Social Security Disability System can be particularly complex to navigate. A lawyer who specializes in social security disability issues can help you with any step in the social security disability process, including assisting you with eligibility issues, launching an appeal of a decision to deny you benefits, and dealing with the reduction or termination of your benefits.
Employment and Labor Lawyer
Employment and labor attorneys work with unions, companies, and employees on a wide range of issues. They deal with discrimination, harassment, salary and hour restrictions, benefits, and retirement security in the workplace.
While labor attorneys and employment lawyers have similar obligations, labor lawyers specialize in union-management interactions and collective bargaining, whereas employment lawyers deal with non-union workplace issues.
A tort lawyer is going to assist a client with assault, battery, damage to personal property, and emotional distress. An injury that causes physical or emotional harm will fall to a tort lawyer. These lawyers are skilled in all areas of law but are particularly highly skilled trial lawyers, ensuring their clients receive fair compensation.
Cyber lawyers deal with cases of cyber crimes like software piracy, hacking, cracking of software, credit card fraud, malfunctioning viruses, cyber-attacks, and threats, etc. the main function of cyber lawyers is to investigate a security breach violation, formulate reports to document security breaches and the degree of damage caused, etc.
These are lawyers who handle all kinds of domestic cases, such as divorce, legal separation, child custody, adoption, paternity, alimony, prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, and emancipation. But family lawyers may also handle reproductive rights cases, and their work may intersect with other areas of the law. For instance, if there’s a criminal investigation of child abuse or domestic violence, or if there’s a juvenile delinquency case, a family lawyer may also work with a criminal lawyer.
Medical Malpractice Lawyer
As much as they try to prevent mistakes, medical professionals make mistakes. Medical malpractice lawyers specialize in cases where a doctor or other medical professional is sued for harming a patient.
Government lawyers serve as counsel in a branch of the government, federal, state, county, or municipal level. Essentially functionaries, government lawyers are public law lawyers that may also specialize in another area of law such as tax law for purposes of counsel on matters of public finance, or tort law issues of regulation or litigation associated with eminent domain, harassment, or wrongful death complaints.
Sustainability and the environment have increasingly been an area of Interest for both the public and the private sectors. Environmental lawyers deal with laws and regulations relating to the environment. They represent clients on issues such as climate change, clean air/water, and environmental technology. Matters of First Nations land use and project approvals can also fall under this type of law practice.
Video Game Lawyer
Lawyers in the video game industry represent the players and fans, as well as the studios developing the games. While these are some of the most interesting types of lawyers, they require comprehensive industry knowledge to succeed in this field. Clients for these law professionals are game developers, publishing companies, tournament organizers, and even players. Video game lawyers offer legal advice, handle contracts, and employ their negotiation skills to resolve conflicts and achieve settlements.
Good knowledge of copyright laws, consumer compliance, data protection, the GDPR, licensing, and drafting agreements are advantages for professionals in this industry.
Civil Rights Lawyer
As a civilian, you have certain rights that need protection by law. If someone is violating your rights, you need a civil rights lawyer. Civil rights lawyers specialize in the law relating to civil rights. They can help you file lawsuits against companies or government officials who have violated your rights.
Public Interest Lawyers
A broad range of socially progressive lawyers serves the public interest in some way. They might work for non-profits, serve in governmental agencies, offer pro bono legal services to communities in need, or work on reforming the legal system from the inside.
Public interest lawyers may earn less than their privately-employed counterparts, but if you’re interested in using your legal powers to create real value in the world rather than help billionaires hide their money better, this might be the field for you.
A prosecutor is a lawyer that represents the state or federal government in criminal trials. They typically operate under the jurisdiction of a district attorney’s office. Prosecutors are the opposing counsel to defense lawyers and work on behalf of an accuser or victim, called a plaintiff. They handle several legal issues, which include:
. Investigation of accused individuals
. Drafting the official charges being filed
. Arguing a case for a plaintiff
Plea bargains with defendants
- Human Rights Lawyer
A lawyer who provides legal counsel and advice to individuals who were victims of human rights violations is, coincidentally, a human rights lawyer. These lawyers focus on defending the basic human rights of individuals and may assist in establishing legislation to uphold those rights in the future. If you choose to become a human rights lawyer, your time will be spent upholding equality for all.
Boating accidents or injuries occurring on open water would fall to maritime lawyers. Maintaining proficiency in understanding the international rules and regulations of the oceans and seas, or the Law of the Sea, is what will keep this lawyer in business.
Legal Malpractice Lawyer
You’ll be working as a lawyer for a lawyer if you enter a career in legal malpractice. Cases might involve attorneys failing to serve their client’s best interest, violating confidentiality, or breaking with any other policy that could lead to a civil case, a criminal case, or disbarment.
Duties And Responsibilities of a Lawyer
The duties and responsibilities of a lawyer can vary depending on their area of specialization and the specific legal matters they handle. However, here are some common duties of a lawyer:
Lawyers provide legal representation to clients by advising them on their rights, responsibilities, and legal options. They work closely with clients to understand their objectives and develop strategies to achieve their desired outcomes. This can involve drafting legal documents, negotiating settlements, or representing clients in court proceedings.
Lawyers act as advocates for their clients, representing them in various legal proceedings. This includes presenting arguments, examining witnesses, and cross-examining opposing witnesses. And making persuasive legal arguments to support their clients’ positions.
Lawyers are responsible for preparing legal documents, such as contracts, pleadings, arguments, and wills, that accurately reflect their clients’ intentions and comply with applicable laws and regulations.
Negotiation and Dispute Resolution
Lawyers often engage in negotiations on behalf of their clients to reach favorable settlements or resolutions. They use their negotiation skills to achieve the best possible outcome while considering their client’s interests and objectives.
Lawyers are bound by professional ethics and have a duty to maintain client confidentiality. Act in the best interest of their clients, and uphold the principles of justice and fairness.
Legal Research and Analysis
Lawyers conduct extensive research to analyze relevant laws, precedents, and regulations that apply to a particular situation or case. They use their analytical skills to interpret legal statutes and case law, identifying legal issues and applying the appropriate legal principles to provide effective representation.
Lawyers offer guidance and counsel to clients, helping them make informed decisions about their legal matters. They assess the strengths and weaknesses of their client’s cases, explain the potential benefits and risks, and provide recommendations for the best course of action.
Protecting Clients’ Rights
Lawyers play a critical role in protecting their clients’ legal rights. They must be familiar with the laws that govern their clients’ rights and must work to ensure that their client’s rights are not violated. This may involve advocating for changes to laws and regulations that unfairly impact their clients.
To effectively represent their clients, lawyers must build strong relationships with them. They must listen to their client’s concerns, answer their questions, and be available to provide guidance and support. Lawyers must maintain the confidentiality of their client’s information and act in their client’s best interests at all times.
Communication With Clients
Once the legal process is underway, lawyers communicate with their clients to keep them up-to-date on the status of their cases and possible outcomes.
Keep Proper Accounts
A lawyer should always keep accounts of the clients’ money entrusted to him. The accounts should show the amounts received from the client or on his behalf. The account should show the expenses incurred for him and the deductions made on account of fees, with respective dates and all other necessary particulars.
Carry Out Legitimate Promises Made
A lawyer should do his best to carry out all legitimate promises made to the opposite party, even if they are not reduced to writing or enforceable under the rules of the Court.
Not Appear in Matters Where He Is a Witness
A lawyer should not accept a brief or appear in a case in which he is a witness. If he has a reason to believe that, in the course of events, he will be a witness, then he should not continue to appear for the client. He should retire from the case without jeopardizing his client’s interests.
What Are the Types of Government Lawyers?
Government lawyers can be found at the federal, state, or local level, and in all three branches of government. They represent the interests of the government or citizens as a whole, rather than individuals or corporations. Government lawyers may work in Attorney General’s Offices, governors’ or majors’ offices, executive agencies, public defenders’ offices, or state legislatures.
What Do Corporate Lawyers Do?
Corporate lawyers handle legal matters for corporations and ensure that all business transactions comply with the law. They work on mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, and negotiations. They provide counsel to their clients, conduct legal research, and write or revise contracts.
Do All Types of Lawyers Go to Court?
No, court proceedings are costly and time-consuming, so legal matters are sometimes settled outside of court. There are many types of lawyers that rarely (if ever) go into court, as the scope of their work does not require it. These may include estate planning lawyers, labor lawyers, personal injury lawyers, and bankruptcy lawyers.