How to Know What Kind of Attorney You Need


If you need an attorney, it may be a stressful time in your life. Attorneys come in when we have an accident, have to do our taxes, or even have to contemplate criminal charges and bond. Beyond that, however, you may need an attorney for things like real estate or employment issues. The work of attorneys goes far beyond just addressing juries in court.

But depending on the specifics of your situation and needs, you may need a different type of attorney. Figuring out which kind of attorney you need can be one added complexity in an already anxiety-inducing situation.

Let’s break down some of the most common types of work attorneys do so you can find the kind of attorney that is actually appropriate for your situation. Check out these 11 kinds of attorneys and what they do.

1. Divorce Attorney

Sometimes marriages just don’t work out. There are any number of good reasons to seek out a divorce and when you do, you’ll want the help of a divorce attorney.

This kind of attorney can guide you through the confusing process of disentangling your life and finances from another person. Even if you anticipate an amicable split, it is helpful to have a divorce attorney simply to help with the nitty gritty details.

The process of divorce is likely to go much more smoothly if both parties have divorce attorneys to consult during the separation. This kind of attorney can help with splitting up assets, properties and other things that need to be legally divided.

2. Family Law Attorney

A related kind of attorney is a family law attorney. Like divorce attorneys, they deal with things related to families. But where a divorce attorney focuses specifically on divorce, a family law attorney also deals with issues like paternity, child custody and, yes, divorce.

Adoption also falls under family law. Whether you are thinking of giving a child for adoption or adopting a child yourself, a family law attorney can help. Seek out a family law attorney who specifically specializes in adoption, as family law is a broad term that encompasses many types of law. The kind of attorney who specializes in these matters can help you navigate the complicated adoption process.

3. Personal Injury Attorney

Accidents happen. But sometimes we are injured not by accident, but by neglect or actual malicious intent. In fact, there are about 20,000 medical malpractice claims filed every year. That’s the kind of situation where you need to call a personal injury attorney.

This kind of attorney can help you file a claim if you have been injured physically, emotionally, physiologically, or economically because of someone else’s actions (or lack of action). It’s important in these scenarios to get the help of a personal injury attorney so you can get justice and compensation. The burden of medical bills can be heavy; a personal injury attorney can help lessen that burden.

Sometimes negligence is actually a crime, but this is not always the case. You should talk with your attorney to see whether your case rises to the level of a crime, or whether it’s simply a case you can get some compensation for. Either way, this kind of attorney can help you negotiate and get the best compensation possible in the scenario.

4. Workers Comp Attorney

Sometimes injuries occur specifically while you’re on the job. In this scenario, a personal injury attorney may not be the best option. Instead, you may want to look into a workers comp attorney.

A workers comp lawyer specializes in cases where a person or their loved ones are injured while at their job. This can be a difficult and traumatic time, so having this kind of attorney on your side can be a big help while navigating a claim.

A workers comp lawyer can assist with things like determining how much an employer is at fault and the amount of compensation you can and should receive. Don’t go it alone if you are facing this kind of scenario. Let a workers comp attorney guide you through the system so you can get justice.

5. Traffic Law Attorney

What about accidents that don’t happen at work? Car accidents and traffic incidents occur for a large amount of work that lawyers deal with. An accident lawyer or traffic law attorney can help if you have any type of traffic-related law needs.

Traffic law attorneys don’t only deal with car crashes that result in injuries. Traffic law also encompasses things like any fines you might have, traffic tickets, and court concerns.

6. DUI Attorney

If your traffic-related concerns are specifically about a DUI, however, you may want to seek out a DUI attorney. This kind of attorney is focused specifically on DUIs.

Even for a first-time offender, a DUI can have major legal and personal ramifications. Depending on the severity of the incident, even a first-time offender can face steep fines and jail time as a result of a DUI.

Therefore, this is definitely a situation where you’ll want the help of an attorney to get you the best possible outcome after this sort of incident. Even if you plan to plead guilty, a DUI attorney can guide you through the process and ensure you don’t sign or agree to anything you shouldn’t. They may also be able to suggest ways in which you can mitigate the damage of getting a DUI.

If you have multiple DUIs on your record or don’t plan to plead guilty to the charges, a DUI attorney is especially important. Both of these situations make your legal scenario much more complicated than it would be for a first-time offender planning to plead guilty. Don’t go it alone in these circumstances.

7. Criminal Defense Attorney

Sometimes we can’t avoid the law. Whatever the situation may be, unfortunately, sometimes we have to contend with the legal system. And that is a scenario where the help of a criminal defense attorney is absolutely invaluable.

This kind of attorney can aid in all criminal law matters. This includes arrest, investigation, charges, sentencing, and appeals. It may also include things like bail.

There are many, many reasons someone might need a criminal defense attorney, so try to find one who specializes in something related to your scenario. For example, you might seek out a DUI attorney if you are facing criminal charges related to a DUI. Note, however, that a criminal defense attorney is not a bail bond agent, so while they may be able to provide guidance, you will probably be on your own when it comes to sorting out bail. If you do need help meeting bail during your case’s proceedings, contacting a bail bond agent is a great option, as they will be able to help you obtain the resources to be released on bail and maintain your freedom.

It does not matter whether you are innocent or guilty, planning to plead guilty to the charges or fight them – in any scenario involving criminal law, you will want an attorney on your side. Even if you plan to plead guilty, a criminal defense attorney can get you the best deal possible. And if you do plan to fight, you will need an attorney who understands how to work with a jury and view your case from every possible angle.

Even just being questioned by the police can be a harrowing experience. Don’t get interrogated by police without some kind of attorney backing you up. It is always worth it to ask for an attorney if you are being questioned by authorities.

8. Disability Attorneys

This kind of attorney deals with the ordeal of applying for and receiving disability from the government. You already have enough to deal with and the process for filing for disability is convoluted and stressful. Let a disability attorney guide you through the process.

A disability attorney can not only help you with the process of applying for disability, but they can also ensure you get the most possible assistance. This is especially important because not all disability claims are awarded. Judges can be picky, but disability attorneys know the best ways to work with judges and get you assistance.

Even if you are denied assistance, a disability attorney can help you appeal the decision. Don’t give up on the first try. The Social Security Administration is a complicated organization, but a disability attorney can help you navigate it.

9. Bankruptcy Attorney

If you are going through bankruptcy, you will need more than an accountant to help you through it. You may also want a bankruptcy attorney who can assist you with the process of going through a bankruptcy.

An accountant is great at dealing with the raw numbers involved in a bankruptcy and you will likely need to work with one to get your finances straight, but a bankruptcy attorney knows the legal hurdles involved as well. Bankruptcy starts with preparing your paperwork and even that step can be a confusing one that makes you want to seek out help from this kind of attorney.

As you move through the bankruptcy process, you also will need to know what kind of bankruptcy to file for and what to do during hearings. A bankruptcy attorney can represent you during hearings to ensure you get the best possible outcome.

It can be difficult to want to make an investment in a bankruptcy attorney or any other kind of attorney at such a fraught time, but it will pay dividends in the long run if you do.

10. Tax Attorney

Audits, unfortunately, happen. The IRS is not the best-loved agency in the world and that’s primarily because they so often come to us with bad news.

Even if you used a tax preparation service to file your taxes, you could face an audit or other hurdle via the IRS. When the IRS comes knocking at your door, definitely seek out the help of a tax attorney who knows the agency and the intricacies of the tax code.

This kind of attorney can help if you have complicated taxes or some sort of tax dispute with the IRS, such as audits. Taxes can easily become complicated due to marriage, divorce, assets, or varying incomes between partners. With all that confusion, it’s easy to make a mistake that prompts the IRS to come looking for you later.

In addition, a tax dispute may take many forms. Perhaps they claim you owe money that you are sure you already paid. Or maybe there is simply a discrepancy between their records and yours. Whatever the case may be, you should never fight the IRS alone. Let a tax attorney who knows the IRS and the system take care of the legal confusion so you come out on top.

11. Real Estate Attorney

There are a ton of good reasons to seek out a real estate attorney. The world of real estate is vast and complicated. Large amounts of money are moving around and any time that is the case it is wise to seek out the help of some kind of attorney.

Some typical scenarios that call for the assistance of a real estate attorney include buying a home, selling a home, dealing with a foreclosure, looking to appraise a property, or trying to divide up or share real estate assets. All of these scenarios can easily become overwhelmingly complex if you are not intimately familiar with the law around real estate.

That’s where a real estate attorney can step in and help guide you through these complex processes. Without the assistant of this kind of attorney, you are at risk of getting a worse deal and spending thousands of dollars more than you need to. The investment in a real estate attorney will come back to pay dividends in the long term.

Choose an Attorney Wisely

There are a whole host of scenarios in life that may call for the assistance of an attorney. The legal system is complicated and in many cases it’s intermingled with other complex systems like taxes, real estate, or healthcare. If you are feeling unsure, having the help of an expert is never a bad thing.

Whatever kind of attorney you end up needing, it’s always wise to check their credentials and see if you can find someone who specializes very specifically in something related to your issues. The law is so broad that many attorneys do have intensely-focused specializations. Finding the right attorney can give you an invaluable leg up, no matter what kind of issue you are contending with.

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