Are you looking to find out what are the different types of lawyers?
What are the most common types?
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In this article, we will break down the notion of “types of lawyers” so you know all there is to know about it.
We will provide you with a list of different kinds of attorneys along with a description of what they do.
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Different types of lawyers
Are you wondering:
- What kind of lawyer do I need?
- What are the different types of lawyers?
- What type of lawyer should I be?
- What kinds of lawyers are there?
- How many types of lawyers are there?
To answer these questions, first, let’s look at what it means to be a lawyer.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a lawyer is defined as:
One whose profession is to conduct lawsuits for clients or to advise as to legal rights and obligations in other matters
Essentially, lawyers and attorneys are legal professionals providing legal guidance, representation and advice to clients on their legal rights and recourses in various areas of the law.
There are as many lawyers as there are laws in society!
We live in a complex social environment where the laws govern every aspect of our lives, from our family, business, work, online activities, environment and you name it.
There are lawyers specialized in every area of the law in the same way as you have doctors specialized in different areas of the body.
No matter the type of legal challenge or needs you may have, you are most likely to find a lawyer, attorney or solicitor who is an expert in that specific area of the law.
List of different types of lawyers
Before we dive into describing the most common type of lawyers out there, let’s make a quick list of the different kinds of lawyers you can come across:
- Accident lawyer
- Antitrust lawyer
- Aviation lawyer
- Banking lawyer
- Bankruptcy lawyer
- Business lawyer
- Civil litigation lawyer
- Civil rights lawyer
- Commercial lawyer
- Competition lawyer
- Constitutional lawyer
- Construction lawyer
- Contract lawyer
- Corporate lawyer
- Criminal lawyer
- Cybersecurity lawyer
- Digital media lawyer
- DUI – DWI lawyer
- E-commerce lawyer
- Employment lawyer
- Entertainment lawyer
- Environmental lawyer
- Estate planning lawyer
- Family lawyer
- Finance lawyer
- Gaming lawyer
- General practice lawyer
- Government lawyers
- Immigration lawyer
- Insurance lawyer
- Intellectual property lawyer
- International law lawyer
- Internet lawyer
- Litigation lawyer
- Maritime lawyer
- Malpractice lawyer
- Medical malpractice lawyer
- Media lawyer
- Mergers and acquisitions lawyer
- Military lawyer
- Negligence lawyer
- Personal injury lawyer
- Private practice lawyer
- Privacy lawyer
- Probate lawyer
- Property lawyer
- Public interest lawyer
- Real estate lawyer
- Securities lawyer
- Sports lawyer
- Social security disability lawyer
- Tax lawyer
- Toxic tort lawyer
- Tort lawyer
- Traffic lawyer
- Transactional lawyer
- Trial lawyer
- Workers compensation lawyer
This is a non-exhaustive list intended to give you an idea of the different types of attorneys out there.
There are many more!
Article to read!
In case you wonder what is the difference between a lawyer and an attorney, you should check out our article on Attorney vs Lawyer where we break down each term for your ease of understanding.
An accident lawyer or personal injury lawyer is a lawyer who provides legal services to claim compensatory damages or other damages resulting from an accident causing physical or psychological injuries.
An accident can be caused by:
- Gross negligence
- Willful misconduct
- Deliberate acts or omissions
An accident lawyer can file a negligence lawsuit, negligence per se lawsuit or any other type of civil lawsuit dealing with the breach of a person’s duty of care or negligent acts.
An antitrust lawyer deals with federal and state laws regulating the conduct of organizations and businesses when competing with one another in the domestic market.
Antitrust laws attempt to promote healthy competition that can benefit consumers.
Antitrust lawyers deal with legal aspects such as:
- Sherman Act of 1890
- Clayton Act of 1914
- Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914
- Collusive practices
- Restriction on trade
- Restriction on mergers and acquisitions
- Abuse of market power
An aviation lawyer is a type of lawyer dealing with aviation law issues affecting aircraft, air safety or navigation such as:
- Airport operations
- Aircraft navigation
- Aircraft contracts
- Aircraft maintenance
- Air traffic safety controls
- Pilot licensing
- Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) matters
- Transportation Security Administration (TSA) matters
- Airline passenger safety
- National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) matters
- Air cargo
- International flights
- Domestic flights
Banking lawyers and finance attorneys are particularly specialized in banking law, how banks operate, bank financing, loans and capital markets.
Banking and finance lawyers deal with legal matters relating to:
- Personal loan
- Corporate loan
- Business loan
- Bank lending
- Property financing
- Project financing
- Acquisition financing
- Asset financing
- Currency transactions
- Capital markets
- Legal issues faced by lenders and borrowers
A bankruptcy lawyer is specialized in bankruptcy laws and provides legal support to businesses or individuals having financial difficulties, solvency issues or are unable to pay their debt.
Bankruptcy lawyers advise on:
- Eligibility to file for bankruptcy
- How to get out of bankruptcy
- The type of debt that can be cleared through bankruptcy
- Negotiation with creditors to avoid bankruptcy
- Legal representation in bankruptcy court
- Bankruptcy paperwork
- Alternatives to bankruptcy
- Financial hardship
- Debt relief
- Debt repayment plan
- Debt discharge
- Credit card debt
- Debtor and creditor issues
- Creditor committees
- Deals with bankruptcy trustees
Business lawyers are types of lawyers specialized in business in general.
However, “business” is a broad term and can be divided into different subcategories.
There are different kinds of lawyers practicing in business and possibility specialized in any of the following areas:
- Privacy law
- Data security law
- Debt collection law
- Contract law
- Intellectual property law
- Trademark law
- Copyright law
- Corporate law
- Commercial law
- M&A law
- Business dissolution
- Business compliance
- Business management
- Business transfer
- International commercial law
- Business litigation
- Business disputes
- Bankruptcy and insolvency
For instance, a mergers and acquisitions lawyer or contract lawyer may present themselves as “business lawyers” considering they deal with businesses in general.
Civil litigation lawyer
A civil litigation lawyer is a type of attorney specialized in civil litigation, lawsuits and court procedures.
A civil litigation attorney is an attorney who can provide legal support in the following areas:
- File a civil lawsuit
- Defend against a civil lawsuit
- Respond to court summons
- Depose witnesses and handle depositions
- Deliver evidence in accordance with the court rules of evidence
- File and defend against motions
- Plead before a judge or jury
Civil rights lawyer
Civil rights lawyers are types of solicitors that provide legal support and guidance with regards to civil rights such as:
- Civil rights
- Civil freedoms
- Gay and lesbian rights
- Voting rights
- Human rights
- Discrimination based on sex, race, age, religion, gender, national origin, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation or other
- Freedom of expression, movement, privacy, thought, press
A commercial lawyer is essentially a business lawyer or an attorney handling commercial transactions.
Commercial lawyers are generally transactional lawyers and support businesses in closing deals of varying sizes, locally or internationally.
Commercial lawyers handle matters such as:
- Review, drafting and negotiating contracts
- Non-disclosure agreements
- Contractual amendments and modifications
- Contract termination
- Contract lifecycle management
- Examination of legal documents
- Validation of transaction compliance with applicable laws
- Researching applicable laws
A competition lawyer is someone who understands the laws governing fair competition and free trade in the marketplace.
Competition law deals with promoting a healthy and fair competitive landscape free from collusion and anti-competitive behaviour.
Constitutional attorneys can support individuals and businesses in dealing with their constitutional rights and freedoms such as:
- Dealing with minorities
- Freedom of religion
- Freedom of speech
- Interpretation of the constitutional law
- Civil liberties
- Federal and state jurisdictions
- Adoption of laws and the legislative process
- Executive branch and judiciary rights and obligations
Construction lawyers are attorney types dealing with legal aspects surrounding construction such as:
- Construction contracts
- Construction permits
- Construction projects
- Prime contracts
- Infrastructure projects
- Public-private partnerships
- Residential projects
- Strata projects
- Commercial projects
- Contract formation
- Construction dispute
- Insurance claims
- Enterprise agreements
- Construction financing
- Tripartite financing agreement
A contract lawyer is a type of lawyer specialized in contracts and all aspects of how contracts are negotiated, drafted, interpreted and legally enforced in law.
A contract attorney can support you with regards to:
- Negotiating contracts
- Drafting contracts and contractual clauses
- Interpreting legal obligations stemming from a contract
- Enforceable contractual rights
- Breach of contract
- Type of contract suitable for a specific transaction
A corporate lawyer is specialized in the area of corporate law and all aspects relating to the management, governance and structuring of corporations.
Corporate lawyers can provide you with legal advice in regards to:
- How to incorporate a business
- Different types of legal entities suitable for your business
- Internal governance of corporations
- How to comply with laws, statutes and regulations affecting corporations
A corporate lawyer can work for a law firm or can act as an in-house legal counsel to a corporation like a staff attorney, deputy general counsel, chief legal officer, general counsel, corporate counsel or other.
A criminal lawyer specializes in the area of criminal law when a person or an individual is charged with a crime and summoned to court.
Criminal defense attorneys provide legal advice and court representation in the following areas:
- Criminal negligence cases
- Police brutality
- Conduct or behavior violating criminal laws such as violence, threats, theft and so on
- Representation before criminal courts
- Sentencing hearings
- Domestic violence
There are different types of attorneys specialized in criminal law such as public defender, prosecutor and defense attorney.
Digital media lawyer
A digital media lawyer or Internet lawyer is a lawyer having particular knowledge in the area of digital communications, technology and the Internet.
A digital media lawyer can advise on the following matters:
- Online privacy
- Digital copyright laws
- Website terms and conditions
- Privacy issues
- Digital piracy
- Digital videos
- Online images
- Social media platforms
- Internet law
- Mobile phones
- Online browsing
- Tracking tools
DUI – DWI lawyer
A DUI (driving under the influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated) lawyer is specialized in crimes or criminal offences related to driving either under the influence of alcohol, drugs or other intoxicating substances, misdemeanor and felony criminal cases.
A DUI lawyer or DWI lawyer is more generally a criminal lawyer but particularly specialized in dealing with crimes having to do with motorists driving while impaired by alcohol, drugs or other substances.
E-commerce lawyers are types of lawyers in demand in the most recent years as more and more individuals and businesses transact online and deal with e-commerce businesses.
E-commerce lawyers have special expertise in the following area:
- Online shopping
- Online transactions
- Software as a service contract (SaaS)
- Platform as a service (PaaS)
- Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
- Data as a service (DaaS)
- Hosted services
- Digital marketing
- Website development
- Software development
- Technology law
- Internet law
Employment lawyer or labor lawyer specializes in employment law.
Employers or employees having legal issues at the workplace or looking for advice on how to handle a particular work-related legal challenge can seek the advice of employment lawyers.
An employment lawyer will typically provide legal support in the following areas:
- Review of your rights and obligations in an employment contract
- The laws applicable to different types of contractual relationships like employee, consultant, independent consultant, contract-to-hire and other
- Harassment or sexual harassment
- Work-related violence
- Wrongful termination
- Illegal work-related practices
- Wages and overtime
- Privacy rights
- Collective bargaining agreements
- Legal representation before the labor court
- Workplace safety
- Workers’ compensation
- Termination of employment
- Severance payment
- Employee benefits
- Workplace discrimination
An entertainment lawyer handles legal matters related to the entertainment industry such as:
- Entertainment contracts
- License agreements
- Reproduction rights
Environment lawyers are types of lawyers focusing on environmental laws, statutes and regulations dealing with:
- The protection and preservation of the environment by individuals and businesses
- Protection of natural resources
- Legislative protections
- Land and coastline use
- Environmental regulation
- Public health
Estate planning lawyer
An estate planning lawyer is a type of lawyer who understands the laws relating to wills, trust, estates and successions.
Estate planning lawyers provide legal guidance as to:
- How to plan for the transmission of assets in the event of death
- How to set up trusts to manage estate assets
- Provide legal representation in court
- Draw up wills, testaments and trusts
- Living wills
- Minor beneficiaries
- Burial arrangements
- Final wishes
A family lawyer deals with all aspects of our family life such as:
- Prenuptial agreement
- Child support
- Child custody
- Division of assets following separation
- Spousal support
- Legal separation
- Postnuptial agreement
Finance lawyers or banking lawyers deal with all aspects that have to do with money, loans, financing, lending and borrowing.
A finance lawyer will provide legal advice in the following areas:
- Consumer loan
- Bank loan
- Business loan
- Personal loan
- Property loan
- Equipment loan
- Business acquisition loan
- Debt markets
- Private equity finance
- Private placements
A gaming lawyer will typically work with a casino and deal with gaming and lottery operations.
A gaming lawyer is an expert in:
- Casino law
- Lottery operations
- Gaming operators
- Gaming laws
General practice lawyer
A general practice lawyer is a type of solicitor who is not particularly specialized in an area of the law but has a “general” practice.
In other words, it’s a type of lawyer who will handle different types of mandates that are generally less complex in nature and may not need a high level of expertise.
It’s important to speak with a general practice lawyer to understand his or her preferred areas of law and types of mandates so you can make an informed decision as to the suitability to retain the services of a general practice attorney.
Government attorneys are those that are employed by the federal, state or local governments.
They may also be employed by a public body or agency providing guidance to the government in their operations, policies and decisions relating to permits, zoning and other.
Immigration lawyers deal with all aspects relating to immigration laws.
An immigration lawyer can provide legal support and representation in the following areas:
- Filing citizenship applications
- Obtaining a work visa
- Student visa
- Dealing with refugee or asylum matters
- Representing individuals before the immigration courts
- Green card
Insurance lawyers are also highly in demand.
Insurance is a vast legal area and different lawyers will handle different areas of insurance law.
Typically, insurance lawyers provide legal advice and representation in the following areas:
- Insurance contracts
- Insurance policies
- Insurance claims
- Insurance fraud
- Insurance regulations
- Insurance coverage
- Opinion letters
- Insurance claim management
- Life insurance
- Accident insurance
- Casualty insurance
- Business insurance
- Errors and omissions insurance
- Cyber liability insurance
- Commercial general liability insurance
- Network security insurance
- Social engineering fraud
Intellectual property lawyer
An intellectual property lawyer or IP attorney is specialized in the area of copyrights, trademarks, patents, industrial designs, trade secrets and other related matters.
An IP lawyer provides legal guidance and advice on:
- How to protect your intellectual property by filing the necessary applications before the patent office, filing for trademarks etc
- How to pursue those who may have infringed your intellectual property rights or trade secret
- How to license or commercially exploit your intellectual property rights
- Creative inventions
- Scientific or technical inventions
- Protecting art, design, song, software or invention
- Dealing with U.S. Copyright Office, Department of Commerce, Food and Drugs Administration
- IP law
- IP infringement
International law lawyer
An international law lawyer is someone specialized in:
- Private international law
- Conflict of laws
- Relationship between nations
- Relationship between international entities
- International treaties
- Law of the sea
- International criminal law
- International tax law
- International human right law
- International trade law
- Supranational law
International law lawyers deal with any aspect surrounding cross-border transactions or international commerce, international commercial deals between corporations, individuals, governments or international bodies.
Internet lawyer or digital media lawyer is an attorney practicing law in the area of Internet law and how organizations and individuals deal with one another online in private or in commercial settings.
Internet lawyers generally handle the following matters:
- Domain disputes
- IP law
- Data collection
- Data retention
- Trade secrets
- Cybersecurity law
- Online privacy
- Social media law
A litigation lawyer or civil litigation lawyer is a legal professional who is specialized in:
- Court procedures
- Filing lawsuits
- Defending against lawsuits
- Filing appeals
- Drafting plea documents
- Drafting interlocutory motions
- Presenting evidence in accordance with the court rules of evidence
A maritime lawyer or an admiralty legal advisor is an attorney having experience in maritime law and statutes relating to safe water and sea law.
Maritime lawyers can provide specialized legal advice in the following areas:
- Sea law
- Ship enrollment
- Oceanic law
- Open water law
- Transportation and trade
- Recreational sailing
- Conventions and treaties relating to the private maritime business
A malpractice lawyer is an attorney having practical experience and legal knowledge in dealing with professional errors and omissions resulting in damages or injuries.
Malpractice lawyers can deal with:
- Accounting malpractice
- Legal malpractice
- Medical malpractice
- Engineering malpractice
- Architect malpractice
- Surveyor malpractice
- Therapist malpractice
- Dental malpractice
- Government official malpractice
A malpractice lawyer will typically sue a professional for violating their professional duties, standards or codes of conduct causing damages or injuries.
Medical malpractice lawyer
A medical malpractice lawyer is particularly specialized in medical mistakes and professional errors made by doctors or medical professionals causing harm to their patients.
A medical malpractice lawyer will handle matters such as:
- Misdiagnosis of disease or illness
- Wrong treatment provided to the patient
- Errors committed when operating a patient
A media lawyer practices law in the following areas of expertise:
- Television law
- Music law
- Sport law
- Cinema law
- Advertising law
- Internet law
- Theatre law
- Film law
Mergers and acquisitions lawyer
A Mergers and acquisitions lawyer or M&A lawyer supports companies and individuals in buying, selling or merging companies.
M&A lawyers have particular expertise in the following areas:
- Due diligence
- Purchase of business
- Sale of business
- Merger of business
- Corporate reorganization
- Corporate restructuring
A military lawyer is a very specialized type of attorney dealing with veterans and military laws in general.
They are also known as Judge Advocate Generals (JAGs) and they typically represent clients who are members of the U.S. Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy and other military branches.
A negligence lawyer is a legal professional specialized in making claims against individuals and businesses for negligent acts causing damages or harming others.
A negligence lawyer can deal with the following:
- Personal injury
- Workplace accident
- Reckless behaviour
- Willful misconduct
- Gross negligence
Personal injury lawyer
A personal injury lawyer specializes in obtaining compensation for those who suffered personal, bodily, physical or psychological prejudice.
Typically, a personal injury lawyer will file a lawsuit against the person causing the personal injury in the following circumstances:
- Car accident
- Boat accident
- Motorcycle accident
- Truck accident
- Tractor-trailer accident
- Bike accident
- Back injury
- Knee injury
- Shoulder injury
- Head injury
- Hearing loss
- Emotional distress
- Stress and anxiety
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Burn injury
- Chronic pain
- Respiratory illness
- Mental health illnesses
- Slip and fall accident
- Food poisoning
- Product defects
- Product liability
- Civil battery
Private practice lawyer
A private practice lawyer is a type of lawyer working in a law firm.
The law firm can be:
- Major law firm, BigLaw or megafirms
- Medium-sized law firm
- Boutique law firm
- Small law firm
- General practice law firm
- Full-service law firm
- Sole practitioner
A privacy lawyer is specialized in privacy law handling matters such as:
- Privacy procedure
- Data protection
- Data collection
- Data usage
- Data disclosure
- Data management
- Personal information used in business
- Privacy complaints
- Privacy audits
- Privacy regulatory compliance
- Data breach
- Data breach mitigation
- Privacy notice
- Privacy contract
A probate lawyer is typically hired to handle the probate of wills and testaments.
A probate lawyer can be mandated to handle the following matters:
- Executor rights in an estate
- How to manage an estate
- Succession inventory
- Estate distribution to heirs
- Handling the court procedure to declare a will as the last will and testament
- Estate planning
- Living trusts
- Power of attorney
- Intestate succession
- Collection of life insurance proceeds
- Appraising estate property
- Finding estate assets
- Settling estate debt
- Filing estate documents
- Handling estate taxes
A property lawyer is a lawyer specialized in property law in general.
Property law can be real estate property or real property like equipment or other tangible goods.
A property lawyer deals with various forms of ownership such as:
- Real estate
- Personal property
- Tangible property
- Non-tangible property
- Transfer of property
- Possession of property
- Property rights
- Personal rights
Public interest lawyer
Public interest lawyers work for nonprofit organizations or public interest entities.
They may also represent individuals who do not have the means to represent themselves in court.
Public interest attorneys may also promote legislation and the work to reform the legal process.
Real estate lawyer
A real estate lawyer provides legal advice to individuals and businesses in all aspects of real estate such as:
- Purchase of real estate property
- Residential property
- Commercial property
- Industrial property
- Real estate due diligence
- Title verifications
- Landlord and tenant disputes
- Homeowners associations
- Real estate developments
- Real estate transactions
- Real estate financing
- Commercial lease
- Residential lease
- Commercial lease
- Construction ownership
- Property disputes
A securities lawyer is a type of legal professional specialized in securities laws and how companies and individuals can sell stocks, get financing or capital.
Typically, securities lawyers deal with:
- Initial public offerings
- Issuance of stocks to the public
- Issuance of bonds or debt securities to the public
- Mergers and acquisition of public entities subject to securities laws
- Insider trading
- Purchase and sale of stocks by corporate executives
- Granting and exercise of options to employees and executives
- Dealing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
A sports lawyer is a legal professional specialized in laws applicable to sports.
Typically, sports lawyers will handle the following:
- Represent athletes and sport professionals
- Represent coaches
- Handle legal issues faced by sports teams and franchises
- Sport contract
- Sport endorsement contracts
- Legal transactions
- Sport professional bonuses
Social security disability lawyer
A social security disability lawyer is specialized in the type of social security benefits that a person may be eligible to receive or assist someone having eligibility challenges.
A tax attorney specializes in tax laws and how individuals and organizations should plan to optimize their taxes or deal with tax-related legal challenges.
A tax lawyer provides legal support and advice on:
- Tax laws applicable to a person or a business
- Impact of the tax laws related to contracts or transactions
- How to structure a transaction to take advantage of tax laws
- How to reduce legal risk related to taxes
- Represent individuals and organizations before the tax court
- Advice on IRS audits, demands and filings
- Taxable asset
- Non-taxable asset
- Capital gains
- Income taxes
- Business income taxes
- Pass-through taxation
- Tax elections
- Tax returns
- Tax advice
- Minimize tax liability
Toxic tort lawyer
A toxic tort lawyer is a tort lawyer or negligence lawyer specialized in injuries or damages caused due to toxic origins such as:
- Toxic mould
- Toxic chemicals
- Toxic water
- Toxic air
- Hazardous material
- Defective product
- Manufacturer liability
- Storage of chemicals
A tort lawyer or negligence lawyer are attorneys representing individuals and businesses who have suffered damages as a result of another person’s actions or omissions.
Tort law deals with most civil lawsuits.
Many lawsuits in civil courts, except for contractual disputes, fall under tort law.
A tort lawyer’s mandate is to seek remedy for losses or injuries suffered by a person by obtaining monetary compensation, compensatory damages, punitive damages or any other form of legal remedy.
Traffic lawyers are lawyers having expertise in highway safety laws, traffic laws and legal matters relating to traffic, traffic violations and road safety.
A traffic lawyer will typically represent clients having received traffic summons to appear before a court for traffic violations such as:
- Red light violations
- Speeding violations
- Stop sign violations
- School bus stops
- Excessive speeding
- Automobile seizures
- Driver’s license
- Car registration
A transactional lawyer is an attorney specialized in dealing and handling commercial transactions such as:
- Transaction setup
- Deal negotiations
- Contract review and drafting
- Transactional law research
- Transaction compliance with underlying corporate law, commercial law, banking law, technology law, IP law and other
A trial lawyer is a lawyer specialized in pleading a case before the court, judge or jury.
A trial lawyer is a law professional specialized in:
- Representing clients before the court
- Pleading a case before a judge or jury
- Presenting a case to a court
- Filing and presenting motions to a judge
- Representing clients in arbitration hearings
- Representing clients before commissions, boards or agencies
- Handling lawsuit motions and pleadings
- Representing clients in legally disputed cases
Workers compensation lawyer
Workers compensation lawyer or workers comp lawyer is specialized in work-related accidents or any type of injuries suffered by a person on the job.
Workers comp lawyer provide legal support and advice with regards to:
- Workplace accident
- Occupational disease
- Workplace safety
- Workplace hazards
Typically, workers compensation lawyers have the legal understanding and training allowing persons injured on the job or those who have contracted a disease due to employment to seek compensation.
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