There are many times in life we might find ourselves in need of a lawyer. All types of law have the ability to impact our daily lives, whether it’s for a divorce, a will, home buying, criminal defense, or maybe even bail advice.
Sometimes, we encounter the law because something has gone wrong or differently than we expected. We might need help with a dispute, such as when assets are separated in a divorce. It is also always wise to have a lawyer for any kind of criminal proceedings, of course. Whether you are in the right or not, that is not a time when you want to go it alone.
No matter why you might need a lawyer, it can be confusing to find the right one for your situation. There are many types of lawyers and many more specialties within those types. All types of law often end up whittled down to extremely specific specialties eventually. Knowing why you need a lawyer will help you in choosing the right one.
To help you in your search, here are 6 broad types of lawyers you might need at some point in your life.
It isn’t a fun prospect to consider needing a criminal defense lawyer, but unfortunately this is sometimes the case. It may not be for yourself, either. Perhaps a relative, friend or loved one has gotten into some sort of legal trouble. You may serve as their lifeline if they are in a situation where they cannot contact a lawyer themselves.
One such situation is bail. Bail is not a clear cut situation. You might know someone who is being detained until they can post their bail. It is very likely they could use someone’s help in getting the bail posted so they can go free.
However, posting bail is not as clear cut as just writing a check to someone. You will likely need help navigating this system, and that’s where a criminal defense lawyer can help. As with all types of law, criminal defense law is a complicated and sprawling category. It can include everything from a minor misdemeanor to very serious offenses that will be litigated in a court.
Regardless of severity, if you or someone you know has been arrested for a criminal offense, you will need a lawyer ASAP. It is never wise to talk to the police without a lawyer or try to go it alone in these cases. You may even end up making the situation worse without realizing it.
And, of course, there are also the complexities of the criminal justice system, including things like bail. You may find that you or someone you know has to go to a bail bond agency because you can’t produce the money for the bail otherwise.
A bail bond agency can help get bail posted quickly so the person may be released as soon as possible. However, that assistance comes with a cost.
You will have to weigh whether that cost is worth it, depending on the situation. Sometimes, a lawyer can help with these sorts of situations. It is better to speak with a criminal defense attorney than a bondsman if you are uncertain about the particulars of posting bail and going through a bail bond agency.
All types of law come with complications, but criminal law is one of the most complex, so this is a situation where contacting a lawyer is always going to be a good idea.
Of course, criminal defense attorney often have specializations, including things like DUIs. A DUI or drunk driving incident is not nearly as clear cut as it sounds. It can range from a minor infraction to a major offense that may even mean some amount of jail time, depending on the factor involved.
It’s hard to know the severity of a DUI infraction right when it happens. You may have many other things you are thinking about in that moment, such as posting bail or recovering from injuries. It could be hard to think about lawyers and law in such a harrowing moment.
However, you will eventually need to face the ramifications of the circumstances. This is when it would be good to call a DUI attorney. While they are specialists in matters related to DUI, they are also knowledgeable in all types of law and can aid with most concerns that will come up.
As with all types of law, especially criminal law, you should get a lawyer on your side as quickly as you can. This will help reduce the amount of negative side effects you might suffer as a result of this kind of situation.
Estate lawyers are lawyers that help with property and assets. The most common time in your life to need an estate lawyer is when someone you are close with passes away. These types of lawyers can help with end of life decisions, such as divvying up assets in a will.
The job of an estate lawyer is not merely to draft up wills, however. They are knowledgeable in all types of law and help with a range of legal documents. That includes wills, of course, but also things like trusts, since these also are part of a person’s estate.
Estate lawyers do not simply draft up documents, either. They also help when it comes time to implement the instructions in those documents. This might mean assisting with dividing up assets as outlined in a will, or it could mean overseeing a trust that is being passed on to heirs.
The job of an estate lawyer goes well beyond this, however. They might also help with things like retirement plans, life insurance policies and charitable contributions. These are all things people need to think about and manage at the end of their lives, especially if they are wealthier. Those with a lot of assets to think about and divide up will have a greater need for an estate lawyer.
Not all types of law deal specifically with assets and belongings. However, many other types of law besides estate law does. We will discuss some of these in more detail below.
If you own a business, you are probably already familiar with a business lawyers. A lawyer is crucial to any decent-sized business. They can help with simple consultations or settle large disputes on the business’s behalf.
Not all types of law are worth thinking about so long before any incident occurs. For example, most of us don’t need to have a criminal defense attorney constantly on hand. That is a type of lawyer we would call up in the moment if something occurred.
However, a business lawyer is a professional who should be available before any specific need arise. That’s because of the wide range of functions and services they offer to a business.
A business lawyer can help with things like intellectual property, tax laws and some types of business transactions. Not all types of law are so concerned with preventing a legal issue, but that is definitely a priority for business lawyers. They are there to help a business do their taxes properly, for example, so that the IRS does not seek to audit the business later on.
They are even more crucial in the case of a business litigation of some sort. Also called commercial litigation, business litigation involves things like breaches of contract, disputes within the company, class action lawsuits, torts and shareholder issues, among other issues.
All of these types of law issues can be scary for a business, but a business lawyer can help. There may even be instances where someone is seeking damages against a business, as in a class action lawsuit. This can damage a business’s reputation, income and ability to keep functioning.
However, punitive damage lawsuits are rarely fruitful, winning only 6% of the time in the U.S. each year. That does not mean you don’t need a lawyer. That number is likely low due to the careful work of business lawyers who are representing businesses in some of these cases.
All types of law deal with people in some form or another, even business lawyers. Family lawyers deal with both the individuals who make up a family and families as a whole.
Estate lawyers, which we discussed above, fall under the broader umbrella of family law. Family law does often include estates and wills. The estate lawyer who helps draft those documents and oversee their execution is a family lawyer.
However, estate lawyers are just a small subset of all family lawyers. There are many other specialties that fall under this umbrella.
For example, family lawyers help with divorce issues. This is a case where assets once again need to be divided. Depending on how harmonious the divorce is, or is not, this can be an easier or trickier task to accomplish.
A family lawyer is a great neutral third party to have in this circumstance, as they can divide things without the emotional burden of the relationship clouding their judgment. They can even act as a mediator to assist couples who need to divide up their assets in a fair way.
Divorce does not involve only assets, though. When there are children involved, that can kick off a protracted custody battle. Here, again, a family lawyer can help. Not all types of law are equipped to deal with such a sensitive issue, but family law is a specialty for delicate situations like this.
Couple may have difficulty coming to an agreement about how their relationship as parents will move forward at this point. Coming up with a plan that is the most beneficial for the children and parents alike is the task of the family lawyer. They can help make a child custody agreement, and possibly amend it later as needed.
This is not a comprehensive list of all types of law out there. There are many, many more types. Any specialty you can think of probably has a related law specialty.
For example, we mentioned DUI attorneys, but there are other specialists who also deal with collisions and accidents. Auto accidents are big category, whether it’s figuring out who’s at fault in an accident, navigating the insurance industry or dealing with a DUI. That requires a few different types of lawyers.
Besides a DUI attorney, you might also seek out an auto accident attorney if you ended up involved in an accident that wasn’t specifically a DUI. They can help with getting the most benefit possible from the insurance company, among other issues.
There are also lawyers for workers compensation, bankruptcy and intellectual property. These are all types of law that are related to different, specific circumstances. For example, you only really need a bankruptcy lawyer if you are considering or going through a bankruptcy.
Likewise, most of us won’t need to contact a workers compensation lawyer unless special circumstances arise. Intellectual property law is a more broad field and often one businesses should be aware of. Business lawyers tend to also know a bit about intellectual property in order to better serve their clients.
This is by no means a complete list of all types of law and lawyers. However, it goes to show just how broad a field law really is.
Often, a lawyer is someone we contact when things have gone poorly or when special circumstances arise. If you find yourself in need of a lawyer, trying searching for something specific to your circumstances. You may be surprised by how specialized some of these professionals really are.
It always helps to find the right lawyer early if you do happen to need a lawyer. It might help mitigate the harm or damage caused by a bad situation if you have expert advice on your side immediately. You don’t need to look into all types of law to find the right lawyer, but it may help to check out broader categories before whittling down to the specific type of lawyer who can best help you with the situation.