Need a Legal Firm? Here are 7 Different Types to Look For
Looking for a lawyer or a legal firm may seem a bit confusing. After all, you probably don’t practice law, so how are you supposed to know which lawyer to pursue for help or protection? Some may not even realize that lawyers specialize in specific types of law meaning one lawyer may not be a good fit for your needs while another might. It’s just the same way a doctor may choose to specialize in cardiology (the heart), or gastro (the digestive system). Except in the case of a lawyer, they may choose to focus on specific types of law ranging from complex criminal defense to marriage law, maritime law, and everything in between. So, the best way to start your search is by first understanding whom to look for and what type of law your case may pertain to.
Let’s start here since it’s one of the most common avenues through which individuals seek legal help. Criminal law typically pertains to any accusation made against you that does not deal with traffic or moving violations. Generally, those accusations will be brought before a court via the state you are in. For example, if you are being charged with crime X, then the state of California for instance would be the entity that accuses you of the crime. Therefore, you’d be accused by something called a prosecutor, or essentially a lawyer from the state whose job it is to fight legal battles when accusing people of crimes. In this case, it is highly important that you seek legal advice from an experienced criminal defense lawyer or a legal firm. These types of lawyers are also experts in making sure your rights are being practiced and that both the state and the court give you a fair chance in court or trial. These types of lawyers also typically appear in court far more often than various other types of lawyers due to the nature of criminal cases. Criminal defense lawyers also must protect your best interests even if you are guilty. For instance, even if you did vandalize a storefront, your criminal defense lawyer will fight to keep you out of jail at all costs.
A more specialized form of a criminal defense lawyer is a drunk driving attorney. This lawyer does deal with criminal defense since DUIs or OWIs are criminal matters. However, drunk driving, unfortunately, happens so often that some lawyers choose to just focus on drunk driving cases. It’s also important to make sure you hire a drunk driving lawyer even if you believe you were guilty. Often times a lawyer will get you a better plea deal which may include zero or only minimal jail time and lesser fines. This is because all lawyers (as long as they are local) will have a working relationship established with the criminal prosecutor or a legal firm.
Another common type of lawyer is the divorce lawyer or more correctly named family lawyer. These attorneys practice law that relates to family affairs from divorces, to child custody battles, the handling of wills and their estates, child welfare, and many other matters as they relate to families. These types of lawyers are also experts at avoiding court and instead solving family disputes which may have been headed to court. Instead, a skilled family or divorce lawyer will often have each party sort out the issue at hand in arbitration. These types of lawyers may also handle prenuptial agreements before marriage, and generally, draft legal documentation to protect assets, make clear who will receive what in wills, and will work to protect the best interests of children in custody battles. These lawyers typically work in a legal firm that is smaller with either one or just a few lawyers present.
Labor and Employment Lawyer
This specialization in law often deals with the relationship and problems between unions, employees, employers, and third parties like freelancers or independent contractors. Some of the most common issues these lawyers deal with are workplace-related and typically deal with dilemmas that HR could not or did not handle. For example, if you are harassed by a boss at work but HR chose to do nothing, then finding a good labor attorney or workers compensation attorney may be your best move. A labor lawyer can also help you deal with workplace violations such as not getting paid on time, not getting paid overtime or for hours worked, as well as issues with benefits and pensions. Within this category labor attorneys also tend to focus more so on union-related matters like ensuring the wishes of the union are being legally heard by the company. At the same time, a labor lawyer may also help ensure that the protected rights of the union are being respected. For instance, many companies try to fire employees for starting a union. However, in the USA, it is illegal for any company to fire an employee for trying to form a union and this tactic is known as retaliation. In that case, a labor attorney would represent the individual(s) and ensure their rights have been protected. Lastly, employment lawyers or a legal firm are typically the same as workers’ compensation attorneys and will help ensure you are paid fairly for any claims you have made.
Although a bit misleading in the name, these types of lawyers are primarily focused on representing high-profile performers. From athletes to famous singers, writers, and others, these lawyers specialize in protecting famous people. Perhaps the most important area they focus on is protecting the intellectual property of their clients. Since famous people and performers are seen by so many, it means their work and likeness have a much higher chance of being used without their permission for financial gain. Therefore, these types of lawyers exist to ensure each individual compensates for any money made from using that person’s image.
Personal Injury Lawyer
Unlike criminal defense attorneys who deal with criminal matters, these types of lawyers deal with civil cases. These are cases in which an individual was harmed or hurt by another individual, but they didn’t necessarily break the law, or the law was not extensive enough to provide fair compensation. For example, a car accident lawyer may specialize in helping car accident victims receive fair compensation for the damages and injuries they sustained from accidents that were no fault of their own. Meanwhile, other forms of personal injury lawyers or legal firms may focus on cases where a business caused harm to an individual and the business failed to maintain a safe environment for the individual.
Disability or Social Security Attorney
These lawyers will focus on claims and issues arising from the USA’s social security and disability laws. All of these lawyers must work within rather complex federal and state laws which determine when someone is due compensation for a disability or social security and how much that person is owed. Social security disability law is rather complex, therefore it’s important to ensure you have a lawyer on hand and ready to go well before any issues arise. For example, most attorneys advise at least having a disability lawyer or a legal firm on retainer even before making a disability claim. This is because disability law is extremely specific and one wrong form or incorrectly filled out question could delay the payment by months or even result in you not being awarded compensation. Even then many disability courts are extremely difficult to get a fair judgment from unless you have a lawyer who knows the ins and out’s of the disability law. This is also true with social security, where federal law can oftentimes be extremely difficult to understand and may take a trained professional to navigate. Make sure you do proper research to find a social security attorney.
Real Estate Lawyer
These lawyers are specialists when it comes to real estate, buildings, permitting, and anything else related to property. Say for instance you are selling or buying a home. It may be a good idea to have a real estate lawyer’s phone number on hand in case any legal questions arise. It’s especially important to have protection when performing sales outside of a broker or real estate agent. Often times each state and region will have different waiting periods and rules about escrow or when money can be disbursed. There also may be legal questions about canceling a sale, buyer’s remorse, and so on. Therefore it’s important to ensure you find a real estate law firm in your area and have them on retainer or ready to go when dealing with more complicated real estate matters.
Finding the Right Lawyer
Now that you understand how each lawyer or a legal firm may differ and what they have to offer, it’s time to find your lawyer. However, not all lawyers are created equal. You may require the assistance of a more seasoned lawyer in which case there are certain associations for specific types of law. For example, the Estate Planners Council is a good resource for finding well-established and successful estate planning lawyers. These are the lawyers you would use to help with your will.
The Cost of Doing Business
In some cases, you may also find yourself in a predicament. For example, many people who are filing for disability find themselves in a difficult place. If their claim is denied they cannot afford to hire an attorney to represent them to get a claim approved. It’s a vicious cycle that luckily has a solution. In this case, disability lawyers or a legal firm will often provide a free or low-cost consultation to the disabled. After the consultation, if the attorney thinks they have a winning case they will often take on the case and perform work without charging upfront. However, should the case be successful and you are awarded compensation, the disability lawyer will typically take a cut from the payment in order to pay their own bills and staff salaries, etc. Meanwhile, other types of lawyers may also offer free or low-cost services to those in need. A good way to look is by googling your town or city and using the keyword legal aid, or legal clinics. These services often specialize in assisting low-income individuals with legal matters. For example, nearly every state and major university has a legal aid team for students regarding harassment, housing disputes, and more. These services are typically covered in tuition or provided for no additional cost to the student.
There are also other ways to find a good lawyer. For instance, personal referrals generally produce good outcomes. You can also use third-party referral services and directories which list and recommend different attorneys based on the type of law they practice. You may even be able to find reviews and outcomes for certain attorneys and determine if they may be a good fit for you.
Finding the right lawyer can be tricky. First finding a legal firm and knowing what kind of lawyer to hire can be daunting and takes a lot of research to know exactly what type of law and specialty apply to your case. From lawyers dealing with criminal defense to real estate lawyers who make sure transactions run smoothly, to entertainment lawyers who protect intellectual property, and even family lawyers who fight for family members’ best interests, lawyers specialize in a wide variety of topics and areas of law. Once you understand what kind of lawyer you need, it’s important to make sure you go about finding your lawyer through the proper channels. While word of mouth is a great referral source, so are third-party directories and even attorney councils. One of the best places to find legal help is through a specific area of law’s legal council or group. Aside from finding a lawyer, it will also be important to be honest and upfront with your lawyer. Even if you did commit a crime or do something wrong, your lawyer needs to know, otherwise, they cannot adequately protect your best interests and fight to keep you out of jail.