The practice of law encompasses a wide range of specialty areas. Lawyers may choose to focus on everything from constitutional law to personal injury to mergers and acquisitions. Some of the major branches that lawyers tend to specialize in include civil litigation, corporate law, criminal law, family law, immigration law, intellectual property law, and tax law. Within these broad categories there are many subspecialties.
Civil Litigation Lawyers
Civil litigation attorneys represent clients who are either suing someone or being sued in non-criminal cases. These lawyers handle a vast range of civil disputes and disagreements, from breach of contract cases to medical malpractice lawsuits to product liability claims. Major subspecialties within civil litigation include personal injury law and medical malpractice law. Personal injury attorneys represent plaintiffs who have been injured because of another party’s negligence, such as in a car accident or a slip and fall incident. Medical malpractice lawyers handle cases where doctors or other healthcare professionals have made mistakes that caused harm to patients.
Corporate lawyers work with companies and organizations on all their legal needs. This can involve everything from drafting contracts, to ensuring compliance with regulations, to providing general business advice. Many corporate law specialists focus on a particular industry like healthcare, technology, or finance in order to provide tailored counsel based on their knowledge of that sector.
Criminal Defense and Prosecution Lawyers
Criminal law attorneys work within the criminal justice system, either defending or prosecuting those accused of crimes. As a criminal defense lawyer, they represent clients charged with offenses ranging from minor misdemeanors to serious violent felonies. Their job is to advocate for the defendant and work to get charges reduced or dismissed. Meanwhile, prosecutors work for government agencies and attempt to prove defendants guilty of the crimes they have been accused of.
Family Law Attorneys
Family law, sometimes referred to as matrimonial law, covers legal issues related to family relationships, marriage, and domestic partnerships. Attorneys practicing family law represent clients going through events like divorce, child custody disputes, adoptions, and the creation of wills and estates. With divorce, they handle concerns like alimony, child support payments, and the division of assets and debts accrued during marriage.
Immigration attorneys help clients navigate the complex immigration system. According to the experts at business immigration attorney Graham Adair, this may involve anything from assisting companies with securing work visas for employees, to helping families immigrate permanently to their new country, to representing refugees seeking asylum from dangerous conditions overseas, to defending clients who face deportation and removal proceedings in immigration court. Immigration attorneys must understand not only American immigration laws but also the conditions in their clients’ home countries in order to best advocate on their behalf.
Tax law professionals assist both individuals and corporations in navigating complex federal and state tax codes. This involves advising clients on how to legally minimize tax liabilities, properly file tax returns each year, manage audits when they occur, and structure important business deals and transactions to optimize tax implications. Tax attorneys are particularly sought after to provide counsel on estate taxes so that families can pass on wealth and assets to heirs without accruing huge tax bills in the process.
There is an enormous range of legal specialties, each one requiring its own unique expertise. But all attorneys, regardless of their practice area, serve the invaluable role of helping guide clients through complicated legal systems and fighting to protect their interests. Lawyers devote themselves to understanding often opaque codes and precedents so they can provide good counsel and peace of mind to clients going through complicated situations.