Types of Lawyers in the United States

There are many different types of lawyers in the United States, each with their own specialization and expertise.

Even if you think you know what type of lawyer you’re looking for, it never hurts to do your research and determine which one might be the best fit for your legal needs.

This article will help you understand the different types of lawyers in the United States, from general attorneys to litigation specialists and more.

Legal Specialization by State

Understanding what type of lawyer, you need to hire can be confusing; if you’re looking for a divorce lawyer, but live in California, does that mean you should look for a divorce lawyer in your city or do you need to go to another state?

In addition to helping potential clients find good lawyers, it’s also important for lawyers to know where they are allowed to practice.

Each state has its own rules about who is eligible to practice law within their borders. While each state has slightly different requirements regarding who can be licensed as an attorney and which licenses are offered, there are some similarities across all states.

For example, most states require law students to pass a bar exam before they can practice law within that state.

And just because you have an undergraduate degree in a certain area, doesn’t mean you’ll be eligible to take that state’s bar exam.

Many states have different rules about which college degrees qualify for certain areas of practice. These same rules often apply to people who are not U.S.

Types of Lawyers

When someone mentions a lawyer, it’s easy to think of an image: a black-and-white film or an episode of Law & Order.

However, there are many different types of lawyers working today. As a way to help you better understand their roles and responsibilities, here is an overview of each type. Remember that these descriptions are general guidelines and laws vary from state to state:

Criminal Defense Attorney: A criminal defense attorney works as part of a defense team defending clients against criminal charges brought by federal, state or local prosecutors.

 Labor Lawyer: A labor lawyer provides legal representation for employers.

Patent Attorney: A patent attorney assists inventors with securing patents for their inventions.

Real Estate Attorney: A real estate attorney helps clients with buying, selling or leasing real estate.

 Tax Lawyer: A tax lawyer helps clients navigate U.S. federal and state tax laws.

Wills & Trusts Attorney: A wills & trusts attorney advises clients on wills, trusts and other probate matters.

Personal Injury Attorneys

A personal injury attorney deals with legal situations that result from accidents, such as car crashes, slip and falls, and dog bites.

If you have suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence, such as a faulty product or bad driver, a personal injury attorney can help get you compensation for your damages.

This could include reimbursement for lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis; they don’t get paid unless they win your case.

However, fees do vary depending on location and lawyer. Also remember that if you are seeking financial damages for injuries sustained in an accident at work or on another person’s property (such as in a hotel), then you might need to hire a different type of lawyer.

If you are seeking damages for a car accident, slip and fall or dog bite that happened on someone else’s property, then you should hire a different type of lawyer.

These situations fall under premises liability laws, which vary from state to state. You’ll want to consult an attorney in your state who specializes in these cases.

These personal injury attorneys work differently than contingency-based attorneys because they often charge their clients on an hourly basis.

Corporate Attorneys

A corporate attorney assists and advises business owners on issues related to corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), and partnerships. Corporate attorneys focus on matters like drafting or reviewing contracts, including commercial lease agreements and purchasing agreements; reviewing business operations to ensure they are running legally; setting up corporate boards of directors; analyzing potential lawsuits against a company and then developing solutions for defending against those suits;

structuring mergers and acquisitions between businesses; working with company management to prevent embezzlement by employees or theft by shareholders; advising a company on issues related to securities trading on an exchange, including initial public offerings (IPOs) and stock sales.

The most senior corporate attorneys become general counsels or chief legal officers who manage all aspects of legal services within a business.

Criminal Defense Attorneys

The attorneys who work in criminal defense do just that—they represent defendants charged with crimes.

They argue to judges and juries on behalf of their clients, working to get charges dropped or reduced.

A criminal defense attorney will have a bachelor’s degree (often supplemented by further education at an accredited law school), and they must pass a state bar exam before they can practice.

When representing a client, however, criminal defense attorneys don’t need to be licensed by their state as long as they work with one or more lawyers who are already qualified for court appearances.

Criminal defense attorneys make about $110,000 per year. The demand for them is expected to rise 7% through 2026.

If you enjoy working on behalf of people who are charged with crimes, criminal defense law may be for you.

Criminal defense attorneys help their clients at every stage of a case. They speak to police during their investigation and negotiate with prosecutors during trials.

Criminal defense attorneys may also appeal unfavorable decisions through petitions for new trials or other legal action.

While a bachelor’s degree is needed to practice, some lawyers go on to get master’s degrees or even doctoral degrees in law after earning their bachelor’s degree.

Medical Malpractice Attorneys

When medical professionals are negligent or reckless and their actions result in harm to their patients, victims may choose to seek compensation by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Medical malpractice can occur when doctors, nurses, hospitals or other healthcare providers fail to provide patients with optimal care. If you have suffered serious injury because of someone else’s negligence, contact an experienced attorney today.

A lawyer can help assess your case and decide if you have grounds for filing a lawsuit.

International Law Firms

The U.S. legal market is highly competitive and saturated with top-tier law firms. That’s why international firms have begun opening offices in major U.S. cities, such as Miami, New York City, Boston, and Seattle.

International law firms focus on a variety of services and provide a wealth of opportunities for foreign-trained lawyers looking to make it big stateside; however, these positions are not without significant challenges.

Offices are often located on less desirable business streets (think Wall Street versus Madison Avenue) and most international law firms do not offer associate programs or formal mentorship opportunities for new hires—both important elements when deciding where to build your career.


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