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It 7 Different Types of Lawyers/Attorneys and When to Hire Each Type




People often use the terms ‘lawyer’ and ‘attorney’ interchangeably, as there is little difference between the two. Both are legal professionals who have attended law school and can give legal advice to their clients. However, attorneys can represent their clients in court— so all attorneys are lawyers, but not all lawyers are attorneys. Here are seven different types of lawyers (and attorneys) that are often hired and in what situations you should hire each.

#1: Business Lawyers

Business lawyers are knowledgeable of how businesses of all types should operate within the legal framework of laws across all levels (i.e., local, state, and federal). They’re involved in liability, mergers, and even intellectual property. Business lawyers that specialize in intellectual property (IP lawyers) help entrepreneurs protect their intellectual capital with patents, licenses, and trademarks. If you have a business or if you’re thinking about starting a business, it’s a good idea to invest in hiring a business lawyer to protect your business legally.

#2: Defense Attorneys

Defense attorneys are the lawyers that most people think of when someone is on trial for a crime they may or may not have committed. Because they defend clients in court, all defense lawyers are attorneys who have passed the bar exam. Some may be public defenders, who are attorneys paid by the government available to those who can’t afford to hire a law firm, while others are private attorneys. If you’re accused of committing a crime, you’ll have the option to have a public defender or private attorney defend you in court.

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#3: Family and Estate Planning Lawyers

Family lawyers, including domestic violence lawyers, are knowledgeable in all laws concerning the family and domestic relations. This most notably includes divorce and child custody but also includes situations like domestic violence, child delinquency, adoption, and surrogacy. You’ll benefit from consulting a family lawyer in any of these circumstances.

Estate planning deals with wills, trusts, and property rights, and this type of lawyer ensures that everything related to the passing down of assets to family and nonfamily members is done properly. If you have assets, including real estate, you’ll benefit from having an estate planning lawyer handle them for you, especially when it comes to putting a house in a trust to ensure efficient management.

#4: Labor Lawyers

Labor and employment lawyers focus on relationships in the workplace. They’re knowledgeable in the law as it applies to working hours, salaries, workplace discrimination, and workplace safety. Those who believe that their rights as an employee or union worker have been violated can contact a labor lawyer for more information. On the other hand, employers can consult with a labor lawyer to ensure their company is legally complying with all labor laws.

#5: Immigration Lawyers

In the U.S., immigration lawyers help individuals and entire families gain U.S. citizenship. They typically work with asylum seekers and refugees, but they can help anyone trying to gain legal citizenship. If you’re not a legal citizen of the U.S., you’d want to hire an immigration lawyer to help you gain citizenship or even just a work visa. Business owners can also hire immigration lawyers to help their employees obtain work visas.

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#6: Personal Injury Lawyers

Next to defense attorneys, personal injury lawyers are some of the most well-known types of lawyers and attorneys. They help obtain justice and compensation for those who were harmed by another party, usually due to negligence. Most personal injury lawyers focus on car accidents, but the personal injury also covers:

  • Medical malpractice
  • Nursing home abuse and neglect
  • Premises liability 
  • Product recalls (mass torts and class actions)
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Wrongful death

You can hire a personal injury lawyer in your area for any of these situations to recover compensation for medical bills, ongoing medical care, lost wages, and much more.

#7: Real Estate/Property Lawyers

Real estate and property lawyers’ expertise lies in the legal aspects of buying and selling a home, evictions, foreclosures, and zoning laws. Many different types of people can hire a real estate lawyer, including realtors, homeowners (both current and future), property owners (including landlords), and tenants.

If you need to hire a lawyer or attorney, it’s necessary to know the different types of lawyers to ensure you hire the appropriate lawyer for your situation. Although all lawyers have a broad legal knowledge, you’ll want a lawyer that specializes in your situation to have the best outcome(s), and understanding the different types of lawyers and attorneys— as well as the difference between a lawyer and an attorney— will guide you in choosing the best representative.

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