When you're hiring a lawyer, you'll usually want to find one practicing in a specialty relevant to your needs. To help you sort through the specialty areas, we've broken down some common practice areas that attorneys specialize in handling.
Bankruptcy lawyers help individuals and businesses file for bankruptcy, negotiate with creditors and hold onto assets. Often, these attorneys can arrange non-bankruptcy forms of debt relief possibly alleviating the need to file for bankruptcy.
Attorneys handling business law assist clients in all aspects of forming, purchasing and running a business, including choosing a legal structure for a new business entity, drafting contracts, structuring loans, negotiating leases and other agreements, and advising on employment issues, shareholders' rights and liability issues.
Civil rights attorneys handle issues involving rights protected by the U.S. Constitution; cases may involve employment, housing or educational discrimination, or other matters of discrimination based on race, sex, age or disability.
Collections attorneys assist clients in recovering bad debts, including writing collections letters, filing lawsuits and mediating disputes.
Representing developers and builders, general contractors and subcontractors, and homeowners, construction lawyers handle legal matters arising from construction projects, including payment or contract disputes, general contractor and subcontractor issues, performance issues, arbitration, insurance, risk management and mechanic's liens.
Criminal defense lawyers assist clients charged with crimes ranging from traffic violations to DUI/DWI to murder. Criminal attorneys help clients navigate the justice system, negotiate possible plea bargains with prosecutors and argue cases in court.
Elder law is a broad category covering topics of special concern to senior citizens. Attorneys in this area handle issues around housing for the elderly, wills and estate planning, durable powers of attorney, long-term medical care, hospice care, elder abuse and the selling of life insurance policies.
Working with employers or employees, labor and employment lawyers help clients with employment issues ranging from workplace injuries or discrimination claims to drafting employee handbooks and negotiating severance packages.
Estate and Probate
Ben Franklin famously said, "In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes," and estate taxes combine the two. Estate and probate attorneys assist clients with estate planning and estate administration, including probate (the process in which a probate court authenticates a will and directs the estate distribution, or distributes property if the will is declared invalid). They may help with drafting wills, trusts, powers of attorney, living wills, prenuptial agreements and more.
Family law is a broad and often emotional area of the law that deals with domestic relations and the family unit. Family law attorneys assist with issues involving marriage, civil unions, premarital agreements, separations, annulments, divorce, child support and custody, property division and alimony, name changes, paternity and domestic violence, as well as child abuse issues and adoption.
Immigration attorneys assist individuals seeking to obtain non-immigrant (temporary) visas, immigrant visas (green cards) or U.S. citizenship, as well as those facing deportation.
We've all heard the expression "the mind is a terrible thing to waste". Intellectual property attorneys protect that most valuable of assets, the mind, by assisting clients with patents, trademarks, copyrights and licenses to protect everything from new technologies to works of art.
Medical malpractice attorneys assist clients in cases involving injuries due to the failure of a medical practitioner or medical facility to exercise adequate skill, care or diligence.
Personal Injury & Accidents
Personal injury lawsuits, also called torts, can be brought when individuals or companies cause physical, emotional or property damages to a person. Personal injury attorneys assist clients in recovering compensation for medical bills, property repair, loss of income or other damages.
A specialization area within personal injury law, product liability attorneys deal with cases where injuries are caused by design flaws or defects in vehicles, drugs, toys, and other consumer products.
Real estate attorneys help clients in a wide variety of areas, including buying and selling a home, title searches, preparation of real estate closing statements, disputes over real property ownership, easements, leases and landlord-tenant relations, eminent domain and property condemnation, liens, zoning and land use.
Sports & Entertainment Law
Attorneys who specialize in sports and entertainment law represent athletes, artists, producers, studios, writers, independent record, publishing and distribution companies, internet service companies, merchandisers, booking agents, managers, non-profit organizations and governmental agencies in all areas of business development including, but not limited to, corporate designation, contract packages, investments and financing, deal prospecting and negotiation, litigation support and protection and deal termination.
Attorneys specializing in tax law assist clients with IRS audits, tax planning, property tax appeals, business tax issues and more.
Worker's compensation attorneys assist clients who have received injuries on the job in receiving the full benefits to which they are entitled by law. Attorneys may assist with evaluating claims, filing paperwork and attending hearings.