Types Of Lawyers: Roles And Qualifications

It may seem easy to become a lawyer: get a Juris Doctor (J.D.). Take the Bar exam, and you can begin to practice. It may be difficult to choose the type of law you wish to practice, with so many options.

You may be more interested in certain areas of law depending on your interests and what kind of work it is that you want to do. You can learn about the roles and responsibilities of different types of lawyers to help you choose the area you are passionate about.

  1. Bankruptcy Lawyer
  2. Business Lawyer (Corporate Lawyer)
  3. Constitutional Lawyer
  4. Criminal Defense Lawyer
  5. Employment and Labor Lawyer
  6. Entertainment Lawyer
  7. Estate Planning Lawyer
  8. Family Lawyer
  9. Immigration Lawyer
  10. Intellectual Property (IP) Lawyer
  11. Personal Injury Lawyer
  12. Tax Lawyer
  13. Bankruptcy Lawyer

Bankruptcy attorneys are experts in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and can handle insolvency matters for individuals or companies. Lawyers in consumer bankruptcy represent creditors or individuals. In commercial bankruptcy, they represent creditors and debtors of corporations. The scope of work for bankruptcy attorneys in both specializations is the same. Both specialize in navigating solutions for financial restructurings and plan confirmations as well as valuation disputes. Interning or clerking in a firm with a bankruptcy practice can help you determine if this is the right field for you. Although not mandatory, certain states offer bankruptcy law certification in order to distinguish lawyers who are experts in this field.

  1. Business Lawyer (Corporate Lawyer)

Corporate lawyers are lawyers who handle legal issues for companies and make sure that transactions within the bounds of’s local, state, or federal laws. Common legal tasks include mergers, acquisitions and dissolutions of businesses, as well as intellectual property and liability disputes. A business lawyer can conduct legal research, revise legal documents and negotiate contracts every day. Many law schools offer a certificate in business law, which can be used to further your career as a corporate lawyer. After passing the bar exam, business lawyers can work in-house or at a corporate firm.

  1. Constitutional Lawyer

Constitutional lawyers are responsible for the interpretation and application of the U.S. Constitution and must balance the interests and needs of government institutions and those of the individual. A constitutional lawyer can play many roles, including challenging the constitutionality or representing individuals in discrimination lawsuits, as well as working at universities as a constitutional expert. Some constitutional lawyers are involved in civil rights cases. Others argue legal issues before the U.S. Supreme Court or state supreme courts. This is a rare opportunity for other lawyers. Law students can, depending on their school, obtain a certificate in constitutional law or continue advanced studies by taking required courses. Although not necessary for a career in law, it may be considered a strong commitment by future employers.

  1. Criminal Defense Lawyer

Criminal defense attorneys advocate for those accused of criminal activity. They also ensure that basic rights are upheld in the justice system. Their job is to use the law to the benefit of the accused, in either capacity. Within the legal limits, they must safeguard the client’s best interests. If a case is going to trial, criminal defense lawyers might be called upon more often than other types of attorneys. Many state bar associations offer special programs in criminal law. Those who are passionate about trial advocacy may be certified as criminal trial lawyers.

  1. Employment and Labor Lawyer

The relationship between employers and employees is handled by labor and employment lawyers. These issues include workplace discrimination, harassment and wage and hour regulations, pension security, and benefits. Although the roles of labor and employment lawyers overlap, labor lawyers are more focused on union-management relations, collective bargaining, and employment lawyers deal with matters in non-union workplaces. Many law schools offer a specialization certificate for students who have taken a minimum of courses in this area. However, it is not mandatory for employment.

  1. Entertainment Lawyer

Entertainment lawyers represent actors, musicians, athletes, and any other media-related client or brand. They protect their clients’ intellectual property, which could include lyrics or comedy routines. Entertainment lawyers can also negotiate fees and contracts, facilitate venues and agents, and oversee the membership of unions and guilds. Many law schools offer classes or certificate programs in entertainment law. Some even offer LL.M. level. level.

  1. Estate Planning Lawyer

A competent estate planning lawyer will be familiar with the details of trusts, wills, probate and property rights. A lawyer can provide advice and support to clients in order to ensure that assets are transferred correctly inside and outside of a trust or will. They also help with tax and legal matters. Estate planning lawyers can use questionnaires to assist clients in evaluating their assets and liabilities and helping them make decisions. Additional certification may be sought by estate planning lawyers, most commonly the Chartered Trust and Estate Planner, Accredited Estate Planner, and the Certified Trust and Fiduciary Advisor certification .

  1. Family Lawyer

Although many people think of family lawyers only as those who deal with divorce, child custody and alimony issues, they also handle other family-related matters such as adoption, guardianship, paternity and juvenile delinquency. A family lawyer’s typical responsibilities include counseling clients, drafting prenuptial agreements, and resolving familial conflicts. Family lawyers may work in smaller firms that specialize in family law or in non-profit organizations. For those who have demonstrated knowledge and expertise in this area, some states offer board certification.

  1. Immigration lawyer

Obtaining citizenship or legal status can seem daunting. Some immigration lawyers may even be able to assist asylum-seekers and refugees. Employees and employers who are participating in work visa programs might also need to use immigration lawyers to help them gain legal work status. Many law schools offer certificate programs that allow students the opportunity to specialize in immigration law. Even schools that don’t offer formal certificates may suggest courses for students who are interested. There are many settings that immigration lawyers can work, including in law firms or government agencies.

  1. An Intellectual Property (IP), Lawyer

IP lawyers protect and enforce intellectual property rights of authors, inventors, artists, businesses, and other creators. They also cover copyrighting and trademarking, patenting and protecting trade secrets for tangible goods like inventions and intangible products such as brand names, slogans and symbols. The first responsibility of a lawyer in this field is to advise clients about the best way to protect intellectual property. The second is to register a trademark, copyright or patent to protect their intellectual properties. Finally, the third is enforce intellectual property rights against infringement. State bars and law schools may offer specialty programs or certificates that allow you to specialize in a particular field.

  1. Personal Injury Lawyer

Personal injury lawyers represent clients who have been injured and work predominantly in civil litigations. These injuries are most often caused by car accidents, medical negligence, product liability, workplace accidents, and other types of accidents. Personal injury lawyers have to prove that the responsible party, usually another person or corporation, is liable for their client’s injuries and owes them damages. These cases can be settled without going to court. All lawyers who have a J.D. follow the same educational paths as personal injury lawyers. Pass the bar exam. Personal injury certifications are not as common, though some states like Texas offer them.

  1. Tax Lawyer

Tax lawyers are experts in understanding tax laws and regulations and can work in many settings. This can be in the form of corporations, law firms and accounting firms, as well as nonprofit organizations or government agencies. They are responsible for tax planning, tax interpretation (and the effects it has on their clients), as well as extensive research. Tax lawyers need to keep up with developments in tax law, court opinions and IRS rulings due to their complexity and the frequent changes they can make.

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