When you turn to your lawyer brother-in-law for legal aid, and he informs you he does not practice that sort of law, you might be understandably confused. Isn’t it all the same? Interestingly, it is not. Just like doctors specialize in different types of care, lawyers specialize in different types of law. You don’t want a constitutional lawyer handling your wills or personal injuries case.
Here are the 4 main types of lawyers or attorneys you may need in your lifetime.
1. Personal Injury
An injury attorney is an individual you would turn to after a car accident, workplace accident, or other situation in which you came to harm and need to prove someone else is liable for it. More than anything, they become an advocate for your rights and will help you seek the damages you are owed. Rarely do these types of lawyers take their cases to court as that can be costly to their clients and can be unnecessary. But keep in mind that you may be dealing with injuries for years to come, or permanently, with major medical bills. It is worth seeking adequate compensation.
There are two types of criminal lawyers you may encounter. The prosecuting, or district, attorneys who represent “the people” or the government, as it were, and the defense lawyers who advocate on behalf of the accused. Criminal defense lawyers can either be public defenders or private contractors and they end up in a courtroom more often than many of the other types of lawyers by nature of their specialization. A defense attorney ensures that the basic rights of their clients are being upheld, they receive a fair trial, and to prove their innocence in the eyes of the law. If you made a mistake, everyone deserves a second chance and a lenient verdict.
3. Estate Planning
You might enlist the services of this type of lawyer when drafting a will or trust for your estate. Even those without considerable wealth should consider utilizing their expertise to plan for a future without you in it so your family is not left scrambling. They are well versed in tax and property law and, as impartial outsiders, can help with difficult decision-making while evaluating your assets and liabilities.
This is a catch-all category for any attorney practicing within the realm of family-related law. These are divorce attorneys, adoption lawyers, child welfare lawyers, and more. You might visit this type of lawyer if you are crafting a prenuptial agreement, arguing over paternity issues, or looking to dispute guardianship of a loved one. They will help you navigate your legal options within the law as it regards family. There is a lot at stake with family law besides just money. It’s your future, your family, and your life. So don’t trust any legal outcomes to an inexperienced family lawyer.
While the hope is you never have to enlist the services of an attorney, it is good to know who to turn to in your specific need, when, and if it occurs. There are more laws on the books than ever before, and we live in a very litigious society as well. Chances are you will need to hire a lawyer or attorney at some point.