Lawyers can help people with a variety of legal needs. Lawyers have an extraordinary calling to advocate for those who are vulnerable or unable to defend themselves. If you are thinking about becoming a lawyer, there are a wide variety of legal specialties you can choose from with your profession. What path should you choose? Here is how five specific legal specialties can help people in need to help you in your decision.
Family law incorporates many different types of domestic legal issues. These lawyers can assist with divorce, child custody, and prenuptial agreements. Another area they can address is estates and the drafting of wills. When disputes arise with any of these issues, you can help as a lawyer to protect legal and medical rights and valuable assets such as the person’s home, Persian rug, or expensive jewelry for your client. As a family lawyer, you’ll be responsible for preparing the paperwork necessary for the court and represent your client on their behalf in front of the judge.
As a family lawyer, one of the legal specialties you can focus on that can make a big difference is abuse and neglect cases. You can defend clients against allegations and help them get custody of their children back. As a lawyer, you can advocate for the children and help determine what is in their best interest. You may even work with families of teenagers dealing with a variety of juvenile delinquency issues. Many family law cases can be tense and emotional, and you can help make things easier to prevent fighting and abuse from happening among family members.
Many families struggle with legal needs regarding access to medical care for special needs children. Recently in Texas, Cook Children’s Health Care System joined forces with Texas AandM University School of Law to form a new medical and legal partnership. This partnership provides free legal services for low-income families dealing with issues that can impact their health and access to care. The legal specialties offered help to patients and their families with assistance in qualifying for public benefits, applying for guardianship, or dealing with landlords regarding unsafe housing issues. Since the free legal assistance program began in March 2020, the partnership between the two organizations has helped dozens of families improve their quality of life and get access to the resources they need.
Another legal organization that is providing family law assistance to low-income families is the Volunteer Lawyer Program of Southwestern Indiana. On Martin Luther King Day this year, volunteer lawyers were available by phone to answer general legal questions from local residents. Some of the legal specialties they addressed involved probate and child support issues and those dealing with possible eviction due to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Individuals who had criminal law questions were directed to a public defender agency since most of the available lawyers specialized in civil law matters. The hotline offers free legal services twice a month to residents on an annual basis.
Probate and Estate Law
Another one of the legal specialties you can make a big difference with as a lawyer is in estate planning and probate law. Estate law deals with helping a person protect their physical and personal property from creditors. As an estate lawyer, you can help someone manage their assets during their lifetime and after their death. You can help funeral homes accused of violating copyright laws regarding music played while webcasting a memorial or fraudulent funeral charges. Estate planning may also involve helping individuals assign guardianship for dependents who are unable to care for themselves once they are no longer around to care for them.
People desperately need help with estate planning because the laws in each state vary regarding what they can and can’t do when it comes to protecting their assets. A missing signature or even one wrong word can significantly impact a will or trust. Certain states like Florida determine who your clients can have as a personal representative. If people try to handle their estate matters themselves, it may not be considered valid in a court of law. Family issues can be complex and require the help of licensed legal professionals.
An estate involves anything that affects a person’s net worth. In order to determine the value of an estate, debts are subtracted from overall assets. Assets can include things like land, vehicles, household items, bank accounts, and insurance policies. As an estate lawyer, you may need to settle disputes between family members regarding the division of those assets. You may also need to work and negotiate with creditors who may lay claim to your client’s assets. You can help clients understand the state and federal laws regarding probate and recommend the best legal strategy to protect their financial interests.
Another area where you can help clients with estate planning is through powers of attorney and advance directives. These documents detail what your client desires to happen if they become unable to make decisions for themselves. Your client will assign someone to handle their finances or make important medical decisions on their behalf. You may also have to give your client legal advice regarding what happens to any businesses they own after they die. After your client’s death, you will ensure that all debts are handled and assets are distributed according to your client’s wishes.
A criminal defense attorney helps individuals accused of a crime plead their innocence in court. You may have to defend a client that you know is guilty of a crime and try to fight the charges. As a criminal lawyer, it’s your responsibility to gather all the facts and evidence in the case and interview any witnesses. You may assist with the jury selection process and negotiate plea deals with prosecutors. These plea deals may involve reduced bail bond costs, charges, and sentences.
Criminal cases you may handle can vary from domestic violence and sex crimes to drug and violent crimes. You may choose to work with cases concerning DUIs or white-collar crimes such as fraud and embezzlement. Criminal lawyers can work as a private practice or for nonprofits. Some criminal lawyers work at the political level to make changes in policies and laws that affect people in their daily lives. You can help clients by hiring experts and investigators to help make a witness’ testimony more credible on behalf of your client.
There are a few key differences in the legal specialties of a criminal defense attorney and a criminal defense lawyer. Criminal defense attorneys can represent clients in court after being admitted to the bar. Criminal defense lawyers can’t represent clients in the court because they typically haven’t been admitted to the bar. However, they can offer legal advice or file paperwork. Criminal attorneys can also choose to specialize in state or federal criminal cases.
Public defenders are criminal defense attorneys who are typically hired by the government to defend clients who can’t afford to retain an attorney. If you’re thinking about becoming a criminal attorney or lawyer, there are certain qualities you should have if you want to be successful. These qualities include great communication skills, knowledge in your chosen legal specialties, and aggressiveness towards winning your case. You should also be able to keep the information you receive from your client confidential. These qualities will help you develop the best strategies for your clients to help them retain their freedom.
Personal Injury Law
The main role of personal injury attorneys is to help people receive compensation for the injuries they received through no fault of their own. The three most common types of personal injury law cases involve accidents from motor vehicles and semi-trailers, medical malpractice, and product liability according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The compensation sought helps pay medical bills and recovers lost wages. As a personal injury attorney, you’ll answer your clients’ questions and explain to them what rights they have. A personal injury attorney also gives advice on the legal process to recover damages for their sustained injuries.
As a personal injury attorney, you’ll have to gather facts and evidence and interview witnesses in a similar fashion to a criminal case. You’ll also work with medical providers in order to assess the total damage. Arbitration with insurance companies may also be necessary. You’ll have to decide what the best possible settlement for each case will be and how to get your client what they deserve. In the case of product injuries, you may have to arrange for non-destructive testing to help prove that there’s a defect.
During the personal injury claim process, you can encourage your client to seek medical treatment to prove the extent of the injuries and help your client achieve better health. Once your client reaches a certain point of medical improvement, you can negotiate a settlement with the insurance company. Many insurance companies often deny claims and find ways to settle for as little as possible. It will be your job to advocate for your client and fight the claim denial through appeals with the court. You may have to file lawsuits against medical providers on your client’s behalf, depending on the circumstances.
If a settlement can’t be achieved, you’ll have to represent your client through a trial. Since personal injuries can be incredibly complex, so many attorneys specialize in specific legal specialties. For example, you may choose to only handle workplace injuries or auto accidents. You can further specialize by only handling litigation with breech births under medical malpractice or ATV rollover incidents. Being a personal injury lawyer requires juggling both short term and long term cases in order to maintain a steady income as you seek to help your clients improve their lives.
Business law incorporates a wide range of functions to help businesses and their customers when it comes to their operational practices. As a business lawyer, you may help a business ensure they don’t violate the rights of their employees to compensation and benefits. You may assist in the formation of the business and help safeguard the rights of shareholders. There are different legal specialties you can choose under business law. You may choose to work with issues with employment law, immigration law, sales of goods, contracts, intellectual property, and taxes.
As a business lawyer, you may choose to work with disadvantaged business owners, such as women and minorities. These groups may want to seek a women owned law firm that understands their specific legal needs. Your role as a business lawyer is to help anticipate potential problems your clients may have in the future and develop a strategy to address them. You may review documents for clients and help them negotiate financial transactions. For a business that markets boats for sale, you may help them navigate the rules and regulations involved in how they make and sell products.
Most activities surrounding business legal specialties occur outside the courtroom. Many negotiations and settlements can happen in the boardroom of a corporation. You may be responsible for helping to draft codes of conduct, manage budgets, and facilitate corporate mergers. As a business lawyer, you may also need to handle disputes with real estate and rental property. Business lawyers are crucial for helping businesses sustain themselves in an unpredictable economy such as the current climate that’s going on with the recent pandemic.
As a lawyer, you can help people through a multitude of legal specialties. No matter what path you choose, you can make a difference that can ripple through many people’s lives. A lawyer can help people stay out of jail, improve their health, operate their business in the proper way, and take care of their family. The path you choose will depend on your personal passions and interests. If you are thinking about becoming a lawyer, think about how you want to help people and get started on your journey today.