There is no such thing as a universal lawyer who is able to provide you with any service you might need. This does not mean that there is a legal obstacle preventing the lawyer from practicing all types of law (except when there is a need for special licensing), but law is a vast discipline and it is impossible for one person to be able to effectively master its every area and practice it effectively. It is similar like in medicine; doctors opt to specialize for specific types of diseases to be able to do their best in curing it. Lawyers mostly specialize in one, or sometimes few related types of law.
Due to the broadness of this area, business lawyers will often deal with several types of law, including mergers, acquisition, intellectual property and employment. The first and basic legal task they are trusted with is forming the company, but with time, they also deal with tax issues and employment. There is also a classification between lawyers that focus on small businesses and the ones that work for large enterprises. Some corporate lawyers are transactional (negotiating deals and drafting documents), while others are litigation lawyers (handling lawsuits).
Estate lawyer is the one every family needs. These types of lawyers make sure all of your family dealings and assets are in order if/when something goes wrong. They deal with various issues, from creating college trusts for children to drafting a will so that your properties get properly distributed to your family members when you die.
Personal Injury Lawyers
These types of lawyers deal with accidents and injuries, and pursuit those responsible in order to reach a financial settlement. They work for contingency fees, meaning that they take a previously determined percentage of the money you gain in your settlement. The contingency fee usually ranges from 33 to 40 percents. Because all of them basically charge a similar price, it is important to find a good personal injury lawyer, who has the knowledge and experience needed to win the case and recover a large financial award.
Criminal Defense Lawyer
This is the type of lawyers you most commonly see on TV shows and movies. They are defending people accused of committing a crime, with the minimal goal of reducing their sentence and maximal of reaching the “not guilty” verdict and getting them out of jail. The crimes handled by them range from petty offenses like shoplifting to the serious crimes such as murder.
A divorce lawyer represents interests of one party in divorce process. Usually, the goal is to avoid direct contact with the ex spouse or to increase the amount of assets (real estate, alimony, etc.) the client will get. Although the divorce lawyer can also handle the matter of the custody of the children, there are also lawyers who specialize for this issue alone.
Real Estate Lawyer
Real estate lawyers handle the legal issues related to properties. Just like corporate lawyers, they are classified into two types: transactional (negotiate the property transactions and draft the documents related to them) and litigation (argue contracts, purchases and sales where some of the agreements were violated). Some real estate lawyers deal with commercial, while others handle residential real estate.
If you are looking to hire a lawyer, or perhaps choose a career in law, you have to understand the types of lawyers and their competencies, to be able to make the right decision.