What Kind of Lawyer Do I Need? It is not every day that you will need to hire a lawyer, so you may not have the occasion to consider what kind of lawyer you would need to hire for your needs. When the necessity does arise, however, it can be important to understand the different types of lawyers that practice and what types of cases each type of lawyer handles.
The right lawyer can save you the stress of uncertainty during a legal matter. Lawyers can draft or review legal documents, mediate disputes and negotiations outside of court, represent you in a lawsuit, and provide general legal advice and information about steps you should be taking. Having the right lawyer can save you time, money, and a whole lot of hardship, but how do you know who the right lawyer is?
What Kind of Lawyer Do I Need?
There are so many legal practice areas that it may be hard to figure out exactly what type of lawyer you need. In general, there are broader fields of law such as family law or estate planning, and subsections that fall under them like divorce or forming a trust. It’s up to you how specialized you want your lawyer to be, but your lawyer should have experience in the matter you’re trying to resolve.
What Services Can Lawyers Help Me With?
A lawyer is a professional who is licensed to practice law by the governing Bar Association in the state where they practice. Lawyers are also known as attorneys when they represent clients in court. Should the need arise, a lawyer can assist you with drafting legal documents, providing legal advice, and providing representation in court proceedings.
Clients typically choose their lawyers based on their practice specialty and their location. Should you be seeking legal advice or representation, bear in mind that some lawyers specialize in more than one practice area. Try to find a lawyer that specializes in the area you need advice in, as they will have the tailored knowledge and skills to help you with your case.
What Are the Types of Lawyers?
There are many different types of lawyers. They all have different personalities, legal strategies, ethics, and even specialties and practice areas. So how do you know what kind of lawyer you need?
We have included a large overview of these categories and examples of cases that each category may include.
Business lawyers are also known as corporate lawyers. They handle legal matters for businesses and ensure that all company transactions occur within the scope of local, state, and federal laws. Common legal work includes mergers, acquisitions, the formation or dissolution of businesses, patents, intellectual property, and liability disputes. Day-to-day, business lawyers may conduct legal research, write and revise legal documents, and negotiate contracts.
How Do I Know If I Need a Business Lawyer?
Consulting with a business lawyer is a smart idea when you’re forming a business, managing a business, transferring a business, or having trouble with your business.
A transactional business attorney can help with:
. Drafting and reviewing documents
. Mergers and acquisitions
. Corporate Compliance
. Business Formation
. Leasing and licensing property
. Managing employees
When your debts become too extreme to manage, you may need to find a solution to eliminate these burdens and start fresh financially. A bankruptcy lawyer can assist you in all areas of bankruptcy law as well as with completing debtor filings for the proper Chapter of the Bankruptcy Code.
How Do I Know If I Need a Bankruptcy Lawyer?
The signs that you may need to consult with a consumer or commercial bankruptcy lawyer are mainly the same:
. Unable to pay your bills
. Constant calls from creditors and debt collectors
. unsure how to approach debt piling up
. Bounced check
. No cash flow
. Need representation in court.
Tax lawyers understand the ins and outs of tax laws and regulations and work in a variety of settings. These settings can include corporations, law firms, accounting firms, nonprofit organizations, or government agencies.
Their responsibilities include tax planning, interpreting tax law (and its effects on their clients), and doing a great deal of research. Due to the complexity of tax laws and how frequently they can change, tax lawyers must closely follow tax law developments, court opinions, and IRS rulings.
When Do I Want to Hire a Tax Attorney?
You may want to consider hiring a tax attorney in several situations ranging from a pending court date to a notice from the IRS that you do not understand. Tax attorneys can help with a range of tax-related legal issues, including:
. IRS audits or investigations
. Complex tax filings or planning
. Tax planning and strategy
Personal Injury Attorneys
Personal injury lawyers work primarily in civil litigation, representing clients who have sustained an injury. Most often, these injuries stem from car accidents, medical malpractice, product liability, or workplace accidents. Personal injury lawyers must prove that the responsible party—typically another individual or a corporation—is liable and owes damages to their clients. Many of these cases are settled out of court.
How Do I Know If I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you’ve sustained an injury and you believe you deserve to be compensated for any expenses, you may want to consider speaking with a personal injury attorney who can advise you on your case and then represent you if you decide to proceed. Some common injuries that may require a personal injury lawyer are:
. Medical malpractice and botched surgeries
. Work-related injury
. Traffic accidents
. Falling in a public or private place
. Chest diseases
. Repetitive strain injury
Criminal Defense Lawyers
Should you find yourself in hot water with the law or if you have been arrested for a crime, you should seek the representation of a criminal defense lawyer. They will be able to defend you in criminal proceedings and will have the knowledge and expertise to help prove your innocence beyond a reasonable doubt in front of the jury.
If you have been arrested, you should seek a criminal defense attorney early in the process to help you maintain your rights throughout. You are entitled to have representation present at questioning, and they can supervise the process to ensure law enforcement is following proper procedure.
Should you be found guilty of the crime you have been accused of, they will be able to make a plea deal with the prosecutor to attempt to get you the most favorable outcome in terms of your sentence. Navigating these waters by yourself can be tricky and is not advisable. It is strongly recommended that you hire a criminal defense lawyer.
How Do I Know If I Need a Criminal Lawyer?
Since both felonies and misdemeanors can end up with a prison sentence, you should consult a lawyer if you are charged with any of the following:
. Petty theft
. Public intoxication
. Simple assault
. Disorderly conduct
. Reckless driving
. Possession of marijuana
. First-time possession of certain other drugs
. Aggravated assault and/or battery
. Various forms of fraud
. Intent to distribute certain types and/or quantities of illegal drugs
. Possession of certain types of illegal drugs
. Grand larceny or grand theft
Estate Planning Lawyers
Setting your affairs in order is an important process so that they do not fall upon your family in the event of your death. An estate planning lawyer can assist you with drafting your will and can set up trusts to minimize estate taxes and maximize the inheritance that you leave to your loved ones. If you have any questions about these processes, you should contact an estate planning lawyer for a consultation.
How Do I Know If I Need an Estate Planning Attorney?
Estate planning lawyers review and draft many documents, including:
. A last will and testament
. A durable power of attorney
. A medical durable power of attorney
. A trust
. Beneficiary designations
Real Estate Attorneys
If you are in the process of purchasing a home or commercial property, a real estate attorney can help you with any questions that may arise during the process. If the property you are interested in purchasing has a lien against it, they can help you determine this. You may be purchasing a larger parcel of land and would like to divide it into two or more smaller lots.
You may also be looking to change the zoning of a new property from residential to commercial. These are all issues that a real estate lawyer can assist with.
How Do I Know If I Need a Real Estate Attorney?
If you’re starting a business or expanding your current one, you may want to consult with a commercial real estate lawyer. A commercial real estate lawyer can help make sure you have all the approvals you need to move ahead with your building.
If you’re buying a house, a real estate lawyer can help advise on the ins and outs of inspecting and then legally purchasing a house. Real estate attorneys should also be well-versed in all landlord-tenant matters and be able to advise you in any disputes.
Family lawyers can help you with a range of personal family issues. If you need to speak to someone about a divorce, a family lawyer can represent you in this area. They can also assist with child support and custody issues. These legal needs require a good deal of paperwork and can be challenging to handle on your own, as there are so many emotions involved.
A family lawyer can assist you in navigating these challenging emotional waters professionally and courteously. Family lawyers will also be the type of lawyers that you contact for assistance with adoption. They will be able to help you cut through any red tape that you may encounter during the adoption process to help the case proceed smoothly.
How Do I Know If I Need a Family Lawyer?
You may want to consult with a family lawyer for any big changes in the family dynamic, including:
. Civil unions and domestic partnerships
. Prenuptial agreements
. Property settlements
. Child abuse
. Child kidnapping
. Spousal abuse
. Child custody
Labor and employment lawyers focus on matters concerning the relationship between employers, employees, and unions. They provide legal advice on different employment laws that cover salaries, working hours, discrimination in the workplace, safety, and other issues. All types of lawyers are familiar with labor laws, but a labor lawyer further specializes in the field and works on creating and reviewing company policies.
How Do I Know If I Need a Labor Lawyer?
As an employer, you may want to consult with a labor lawyer if:
You’re threatened with a lawsuit, usually on the basis of mistreatment, unlawful overtime, discrimination, hazardous work conditions, or wrongful termination
. You want to fire an unsatisfactory union worker.
. There is talk of a strike.
. As an employee, you may want to meet with a labor lawyer if:
. You wish to file a lawsuit against your employer for any sort of mistreatment.
. You’ve been terminated without due cause.
. You’d like to negotiate terms during a strike.
Gaining citizenship or legal status can be an intimidating process. Immigration lawyers play a pivotal role in guiding individuals and families through the requirements to live, work, or study in the U.S. Sometimes, immigration lawyers may assist refugees and asylum seekers. Employers and employees participating in work-visa programs may also use immigration lawyers to assist in the process of gaining legal work status.
How Do I Know If I Need an Immigration Lawyer?
If you’re having trouble understanding which paperwork to fill out or getting your paperwork approved, an immigration lawyer can advise on your next steps. Consider consulting a lawyer if you’re doing any of the following:
. Looking for a green card
. Trying to become a US citizen
. Trying to get a travel visa
. Served with a notice of deportation
. Investigation of resident status
Lawyers working for a branch of the US government—local, county, state, or federal—are government lawyers. They usually focus on the legal aspects of the governing domain of the agency they work for. A lawyer in the government’s employ may work on cases that involve wrongful death, harassment, tax, tort law, eminent domain, and many other types of cases.
How Do I Know If I Need a government lawyer?
You may want to contact a government lawyer if you’ve suffered mistreatment as a government contractor, including:
. Unfair pay or overtime pay
. Benefits to service employees
. Unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous working conditions
Civil Rights Lawyer
Civil rights lawyers handle civil rights violations perpetrated against their clients by the government, its agencies, or any other form of authority. Plaintiffs are often discriminated against based on gender, age, race, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or other reasons. These lawyers have a crucial role in preserving their clients’ constitutional rights, such as the right to privacy, voting rights, freedom of speech, the press, expression, religion, and many others.
How Do I Know If I Need a Civil Rights Lawyer?
You may want to meet with a civil rights lawyer if any of your civil liberties have been violated. A civil rights lawyer can help you if you’ve been mistreated based on characteristics such as religion, gender, race, or disability. Some common cases of civil rights violations include:
. Unreasonable searches and seizures
. A cruel and unusual punishment
. Losing a job or being passed over for a promotion due to discrimination
. Abuse by a public official
. Any discrimination based on a superficial quality or belief
Civil rights laws are complicated. Often, you need to file a claim with the government before filing a lawsuit. If you think you have been discriminated against, it is a good idea to consult with a civil rights lawyer to figure out your next step.
With so many types of lawyers, you may find yourself with a few questions. Below are some common questions related to the different specialties.
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 who 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.
What Are the Two Main Types of Lawyers?
When talking about two main types of lawyers, we’re actually referring to criminal law professionals. These are prosecutors and defense attorneys. While prosecutors represent the state, defense attorneys represent people accused by the state.