The 10 Different Types of Lawyers/Attorneys and When to Hire One

The 10 Different Types of Lawyers/Attorneys and When to Hire One

Lawyer vs. Attorney

The terms ?lawyer? and ?attorney? are often used interchangeably, which is understandable because they do perform a lot of the same tasks. Both lawyers and attorneys have completed law school and can provide legal advice to their clients. Attorneys, on the other hand, have also passed the bar exam and can represent clients in a court of law. So all attorneys are lawyers, but not all lawyers are attorneys.

#1: Bankruptcy Lawyer

Both individuals and businesses may need to hire a bankruptcy lawyer when filing bankruptcy, but it's not necessary to do so. However, hiring a qualified bankruptcy lawyer will help your bankruptcy case go more smoothly, decide which type of bankruptcy to file, or provide you with an alternative to filing bankruptcy.

#2: Corporate Lawyer

Hiring a corporate lawyer is a good idea if you're a business owner, even if it's just a small business and not a corporation. Corporate lawyers know how to operate within the legal framework of federal, state, and local laws. This type of lawyer is involved with mergers, property disputes, liability, and intellectual property. There are also actual intellectual property (IP) lawyers that focus on securing licenses and trademarks.

#3: Defense Attorney

Defense attorneys are the lawyers that most people think of when imagining a court of law. Criminal defense attorneys defend people who have been accused of committing a crime and can work as public defenders or as private attorneys. So this is the type of lawyer you would hire if you were accused of committing a crime.

#4: Estate Planning Lawyer

Hiring a lawyer to oversee your trusts, wills, and property rights isn't necessary, but it can be of great help to you if you do. Some situations in which you should hire an estate planning lawyer would be:

  • You have a blended family
  • You have immediate family members that qualify for government benefits
  • You have out-of-state/foreign properties/assets
  • You want to disinherit your family
  • You're a small business owner or business partner

#5: Family Lawyer

Family lawyers are also another type of well-known lawyer among the general public. They cover all aspects of family and domestic relations, including:

  • Surrogacy
  • Domestic abuse
  • Divorce, alimony, etc.
  • Child delinquency
  • Child custody
  • Adoption

A family lawyer should be hired for any legal issues regarding the family.

#6: Immigration Lawyer

Immigration lawyers help individuals and families who are trying to legally obtain U.S. citizenship. They can also help refugees and asylum seekers, and work with business owners to help employees obtain work visas. So if you're trying to become a legal citizen of the United States, or if you have an employee who needs a work visa, you should hire an immigration lawyer.

#7: Labor Lawyer

A labor and employment lawyer focuses on the relationship between employers, employees, and unions. All lawyers (especially workers' compensation lawyers) are familiar with labor laws, but labor lawyers specialize in creating and reviewing company policies. Some of the areas they focus on include:

  • Workplace safety
  • Working hours
  • Salaries
  • Discrimination in the workplace

It's important to note that labor lawyers don't focus on compensation for injuries that occur in the workplace.

#8: Personal Injury Attorney

Personal injury attorneys are another well-known type of lawyer, as they help people get compensation (usually financial) from injuries they sustained in accidents that could have been prevented. Most personal injury lawyers and attorneys focus on car/motorcycle/motor vehicle accidents, but personal injury also covers:

  • Workers' compensation
  • Medical malpractice
  • Drug recalls
  • Class action lawsuits

Preventable injuries that result in death (known as wrongful death) are also covered by personal injury attorneys.

#9: Real Estate Attorney

Real estate attorneys and lawyers help their clients navigate foreclosures or buying a home, or they advise on zoning laws. This means that future homeowners, real estate agents, property owners, and construction companies can all benefit from hiring this type of lawyer.

#10: Tax Lawyer

The U.S. tax system can be very difficult to navigate, particularly if you're not an accountant or if you have little to no knowledge of tax laws. Tax lawyers understand these complex rules and regulations, and they can help both individuals and businesses stay compliant with local, state, and federal tax laws.

The Bottom Line

There are many types of lawyers and attorneys out there, and you can't just hire one lawyer and expect them to give you advice about different legal matters. It's important to hire a lawyer that specializes in the area that you need.


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