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If you’ve been looking around trying to find a lawyer to help you solve your specific legal problem, you’ve probably realized by now there are many different types of lawyers. The legal field is extremely large and complex, and you’ll find that many lawyers specialize in a particular area of law. Because of this, there are many types of attorneys—whatever your legal problem, there’s very likely a lawyer out there who specializes in dealing specifically with that type of problem.

So you need to find a lawyer, one who’s capable of handling your legal issue properly. What types of lawyers are there? Because there are so many different types of lawyers, this article will focus on the types of lawyers who specialize in the more common legal problems.

Although not required, colleges across the country offer degrees in paralegal studies and related subjects.  There are also a few national examinations that paralegals can take to obtain a paralegal certification.  Taking the extra step to obtain a degree and certification can help new paralegals find a job or a higher paying job. 

The pay of paralegals is less than attorneys, but a good paralegal at a large law firm can earn enough money to live quite comfortably in their location. 

Education & Licensure Requirements of Lawyers

Law students typically receive a set schedule of foundational courses from your school.  During your second and third years, you usually need to complete certain required courses but can also take elective courses of your choice.  Law students who know what type of lawyer they want to be should focus their electives in the subject area they plan to practice. 

Some schools offer “certificates” in certain areas.  These certificates are not required to become a specific type of lawyer but can provide useful education and credentials.  For example, a student that wants to become an environmental lawyer might want to pursue a legal education at a school that offers a certificate in environmental law.

After graduation from law school, an attorney’s education is not required.  To practice law in the United States, you must pass the bar examination for the state where you will be practicing law and meet other state requirements for getting “admitted” to practice in that state.  Studying for the bar usually takes about three months.  In most states, you must wait another two to three months to get results.  In addition to the bar examination, prospective lawyers must also pass an ethics examination, and background check to get admitted.  Lawyers can only practice law in the states where they have been admitted to practice.

Lawyer Career Outlook

The career outlook for lawyers has become less appealing in the past 10 years because there are many more law schools and lawyers than there used to be.  This floods the market and makes it harder for lawyers to obtain jobs and decreases overall salaries.  However, there are still good career prospects for industrious attorneys especially if they choose a type of law – like technology – where there is a growing need for lawyers.

Some recent attorney annual salary medians and averages:

  • Divorce attorney – $48k – $80k
  • Bankruptcy lawyer – $113k
  • Corporate lawyer – $66k – $170k
  • Civil Rights lawyer – $69k – $145k
  • Criminal lawyer – $78k
  • DUI/DWI attorney – $56k
  • Employment law lawyer – $65k – $175k
  • Estate law attorneys – $64k
  • Divorce lawyer – $48k – $80k

It is important to note that these are just averages from specific studies.  Salaries can change a lot year over year depending on the business and political environment.  Lawyer salaries are dependent on a lot of factors including experience, where the lawyer is located, the size of the business or law firm they work for and in the case of government agencies, whether they work for state, local, or federal governmental agencies. 

For example, a self-employed estate attorney’s average salary is $95k, far greater than the average of all estate attorneys.  Similarly, the starting salary of the average attorney in small-town might be around $46k with starting salary in a large city closer to $70k for the same type of work performed.

Paralegal Profession

Paralegals are not lawyers, but they are another career in the legal profession.  In the United States, there is no formal education requirement for paralegals, making a career as a paralegal is a smart alternative for those interested in law but who want to avoid the time and expense of law school and taking the bar examination.

Paralegals main function is to assist the lawyers that they work for.  The day-to-day responsibilities of paralegals vary greatly.  Some paralegals provide more administrative support doing things like placing court dates and deadlines on the lawyer’s calendar, writing simple letters, sending out notices, and organizing the lawyer’s files.  Other paralegals perform more substantive legal work like summarizing depositions, medical records, and other documents, drafting complicated correspondence and reports, and even doing legal research.

The primary educational requirements are the same for all lawyers in the United States.  To become a lawyer, you must attend three years of law school.  At most law schools, you have no power over what courses you take during your first year. 

Different Types of Lawyers

There are many laws, and there are lawyers who specialize in about anything you can think of – from environmental attorneys to First Amendment lawyers to digital application attorneys.  The following are a few of the many different types of lawyers in the United States:

Bankruptcy Lawyer

  • Bankruptcy
  • Debt

Business / Corporate Law Attorney

  • Collections
  • Contracts
  • Incorporation
  • Litigation
  • Patents

Civil Rights Attorney

  • Constitutional Law
  • Discrimination
  • Civil Liberties
  • Gay and Lesbian Rights
  • Voting Rights
  • Human Rights

Criminal Defense Attorney

  • Expengement
  • Traffic Ticket
  • Crime

DUI- DWI Attorney

  • DUI DWI
  • Aggravated DUI
  • Commercial DUI Regulations
  • Drunk Biking
  • Felony DUI

Employment Lawyer – Employees’ Rights

  • Workers’ compensation
  • Termination of employment
  • Sexual harassment
  • Workplace safety
  • Wage and overtime standards
  • Privacy rights
  • Discrimination against employees based on age, ancestry, color, creed, disability, marital status, medical conditions, national origin, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.
  • Employee benefits like leaves of absence and retirement plans

Environmental Lawyer

Estate Law Attorney / Estate Planning

  • Living Wills
  • Trusts
  • Wills

Family & Divorce Lawyer

  • Adoption
  • Child Custody
  • Divorce

Government Lawyers

Immigration Lawyer

  • Citizenship
  • Employment Business Citizenship

Military Lawyer

  • Veteran’s Benefits
  • Military Law Basics

Paralegals

  • Litigation Paralegal
  • Estate Planning and Probate Paralegal
  • Corporate Paralegal
  • Employment/Labor Law Paralegal
  • Real Estate Paralegal
  • Government Paralegal

Personal Injury Lawyer

  • Back, Knee, Shoulder, Head Injury
  • Hearing Loss
  • Occupational Disease
  • Repetitive Stress Injury
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrom
  • Burn Injury
  • Chronic Pain
  • Respiratory Illness
  • Depression, Anxiety, Mental Health
  • Toxic Injury
  • Amputation
  • Car Accidents
  • Construction Site Accident
  • Denied Workers’ Comp Claim
  • Third Party Injury

Private Practice Lawyer

Property / Real Estate Law Attorney

  • Foreclosure
  • Landlord-Tenant
  • Neighbors

Public Interest Lawyer

  • Pro Bono
  • Disability Rights
  • Health Justice
  • Environmental Justice

Tax Lawyer

Toxic Tort Lawyer

  • Asbestos-Mesothelioma
  • Drug Recalls
  • Toxic Mold

Trial Lawyer

Sources: https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/types-of-lawyers
https://www.upcounsel.com/different-types-of-lawyers