Because there are laws on just about everything, there are countless different types of law that an attorney could practice. Many of these law niches involve several different types of law all rolled into one area of practice to allow lawyers to serve a specific purpose for their clients or employers.
We’re giving you a short rundown on some of the different types of law. For law students and budding lawyers, this information can be used to help direct your course of study and work experiences to give you the education and skill you need to enter your desired field of law.
Banking and Finance Law
Banking and finance law covers a lot of ground. This type of law involves dealing with banking, loans, and all the contracts and financial regulations that come along with those things.
As a finance lawyer, you could work at a law firm that specializes in this area or you could work as in-house counsel for a bank or other organization.
When a person or company finds themselves unable to pay their debts, they may have to file for bankruptcy. A bankruptcy lawyer can help them do that. The duties of the bankruptcy attorney include helping their clients understand what bankruptcy means, navigating the process, filing paperwork according to location-specific regulations, and helping clients keep their property.
Civil Rights Law
Civil rights attorneys handle cases that involve protecting the rights granted to each person by law. The types of cases they may take on cover discrimination, equality, and basic freedoms. As a civil rights lawyer, you could expect to work for federal or state governments, private law firms, or non-profits.
Constitutional lawyers focus on the Constitution. Their work involves interpreting, implementing, and seeking to amend the document. In some cases, this type of attorney focuses on cases that help clarify what the Constitution means in modern times. Constitutional attorneys may work for advocacy groups, the government, or private law firms.
For attorneys practicing corporate law, knowledge in several types of law is extremely helpful. Corporate lawyers help make laws about the formation and running of companies and help companies adhere to those laws.
As a corporate attorney, you could expect to deal with law niches such as finance, compliance, liability, mergers and acquisitions, and intellectual property. They generally work as in-house counsel or for a private law firm.
Everyone has seen a criminal law trial depicted in a movie or TV show, and when the average person thinks “law,” they think about how breaking the law makes you a criminal. In fact, criminal attorneys make up a critical part of our criminal justice system.
There are two types of criminal justice lawyers. Prosecutors act on behalf of the people to ensure people receive justice a crime is committed, and they may work for the state or federal government. Defense attorneys defend those accused of crimes in court and may be employed as a public defender by the state or federal government or by a private law firm.
Attorneys specializing in elder law focus on the issues that commonly arise for people as they age. As longer life spans mean that the population is older than ever, demand for attorneys in this niche is rising.
They often help clients with long term care planning and arrangements, estate planning, and retirement planning. As with some other types of law on this list, elder law is multidisciplinary.
This type of law involves ensuring workers’ rights and facilitating employer/employee relationships. They ensure that employees are being treated fairly and that employers are complying with applicable state and federal employment laws. They may also be referred to as labor law attorneys.
Entertainment law is also a multidisciplinary arm of the law. Lawyers who work in the entertainment industry may cover things like contracts, facilitating payments, ensuring compliance with industry regulations, and intellectual property issues.
Environmental lawyers generally help protect our natural resources through court cases and helping to create or change legislation. Environmental lawyers may work for non-profits or other environmental protection organizations. They may also work for companies to help ensure compliance with laws regarding natural resources and defend their employers when non-compliance is asserted.
Most people think of family lawyers as handling divorces and custody cases, but they may also handle adoption, surrogacy, child welfare, juvenile justice issues, and other cases relating to children and their relationships with the adults around them.
Immigration attorneys mostly help those coming to this country and hoping to stay, whether for good or just for a while, to navigate the process. This may include visa applications for individuals and companies seeking to hire people from outside the country, naturalization, helping asylum seekers apply to stay here, and helping immigrants who may be deported.
This type of law combines Constitutional law, civil rights law, and criminal law into one specialized field. Immigration lawyers may work for non-profits or private firms.
Intellectual Property Law
Intellectual property lawyers help companies and individuals protect their ideas by helping them through the patent and/or trademark process both here and abroad and ensuring their ideas aren’t being stolen. This can involve filing suit against potential intellectual property thieves.
As intellectual property has become more important due to technological advances and a more global economy, attorneys specializing in IP law are more in demand than ever. IP attorneys might work for a private law firm, a patent agency, or as in-house counsel.
International lawyers specialize in connections around the world. From countries to companies, they help navigate the unique legal issues faced when cases involve laws in two or more countries. International lawyers may work for the government, helping facilitate relationships and deals between countries. Private international lawyers tend to work for companies that do business with companies overseas to ensure their clients’ interests are being protected via laws in both countries.
Personal Injury Law
Personal injury lawyers help people who have been injured (whether physically, mentally, or emotionally) by another party. This type of law is often very specialized with attorneys handling only a very specific type of case (i.e., trucking accidents, slip and fall).
Property/Real Estate Law
Property or real estate attorneys help handle all the paperwork involved in a real estate transaction, resolve any disputes that arise, and potentially help protect clients’ property via legal action.
Property lawyers may also deal with imminent domain claims and loss of property use issues. Property lawyers may work for a private law firm or a real estate brokerage.
Also known as Admiralty law, this type of law handles business issues that occur over international waters. Things like shipping, incidents that occur over international waters, insurance claims for ships, and nautical vessel registration fall into the purview of maritime attorneys. This is a special field of law because nautical laws are generally different from national laws.
The tax code in the United States is extremely complicated, especially compared to many other countries. That means that tax lawyers will always be in demand here. Tax lawyers help clients deal with property liens, back taxes, unfiled taxes, fighting wage garnishment, and negotiating with the IRS.
This type of law almost fits into the criminal law category in some instances. Some practices specifically handle traffic cases. When a person is cited for breaking a traffic rule, they may turn to a traffic lawyer to help them fight the charges or reduce penalties or fines. This type of practice can be very fast-paced and detail-oriented as one attorney may handle numerous cases at one time.
Considering a law degree to enter one of the above-named arms of the law? Lincoln Law School of San Jose offers a Juris Doctor program and Master of Legal Studies programs with a well-qualified staff with countless years of experience in the practice of law. Call admissions at (408) 977-7227 today to learn about our programs!