What Are the Different Lawyers and What Do They Do?

For many people, the path to becoming a lawyer may seem clear-cut: get a law degree, take the Bar exam, and begin practicing. However, with many different types of law practice, deciding the path to take may not be obvious. Before you start the journey, you need to ask yourself, what are the different lawyers, and what exactly do they do? estimates there are slightly over one million lawyers in America. If you’re joining that number, you should know exactly the path you want to take. Certain law areas will be more appealing depending on your interest and the work you intend to do. So, understanding the roles and duties of the many types of lawyers will help you pursue your passion. You’ll answer the question of what are the different lawyers sufficiently.

1. Criminal Cases

If the state or federal government charges someone with a crime, they have a right to defend themselves. Since defendants may not have the legal knowledge, they are advised to seek the services of a criminal defense lawyer. The legal minds help them navigate the criminal justice system, prepare the defense, and safeguard their rights.

If you go the criminal justice way, you may have to sub-specialize. For example, you may choose to handle cases involving violent crimes or drug-related offenses. Once you specialize, take time to build strong knowledge and experience. One of the major areas to work on will be your investigative abilities.

Criminal defense lawyers guide the defendant on how to proceed with the case. That may involve asking the prosecution for a fair plea deal by substituting felonies with misdemeanors. However, if the defendant prefers going to trial, the lawyer is bound to develop a strong defense strategy. The end goal is to ensure the defendant gets the best possible outcome.

2. Liability and Injury

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 300,000 and 500,000 personal injury cases are filed yearly. Many of these cases require the legal expertise of a personal injury attorney. Specifically, a personal injury lawyer works in tort law, which includes intentional and negligent acts. Mostly, their goal is to seek compensation for the victims. However, the dynamics usually change because each accident case is unique.

An injury attorney’s specific actions are hard to pinpoint, but there are generals. First, the lawyer investigates claims to see if they are worth pursuing in court. Personal injury lawyers always need to filter the cases since they are mainly paid after securing a verdict or settlement, a payment that the US OGE refers to as a contingency fee. Once they have grounds to believe there is a case, they gather sufficient evidence.

To support the plaintiff’s claim, the lawyer will procure the incident and police reports. They may track witnesses for statements or instruct photographers to take pictures of the reports. The lawyer may also retain the evidence for the case and present it to court. That way, they will have established liability for whoever caused the accident.

3. Family and Divorce

In family law, the legal practitioners are called divorce attorneys, but they’re generally referred to as family lawyers. Their primary job is to ensure their client’s rights are protected during a legal separation. These lawyers often work for family law firms, and their specialty centers around the division of assets, legal filing, and the different aspects of the separation.

Like other types of lawyers, divorce lawyers gather legal evidence. They also mediate child custody meetings and counsel clients to set the terms for child support and suggest alternative ways of resolving issues to bring the proceedings to a close. Moreover, they read the divorce legislation and ensure the case complies with state and federal laws.

Ibis World posits the market size of family law services has declined by about 1.7% between 2017 and 2022. However, there are growth opportunities simply because the poverty rate is expected to grow. To explain, people living under the poverty line are more likely to experience distress and seek the services of divorce lawyers, according to Ibis World. If you wish to explore family law, those are important facts to have in mind.

4. Post-Mortem Holdings

When you ask what the different lawyers are, the type that rarely comes up is the attorney for trusts and wills. It’s likely you might not have heard it before. Fret not. Also known as estate planning attorneys, these lawyers help clients value and disperse their property after death. As probate lawyers, they are usually very experienced and have a thorough understanding of the laws that affect real estate.

The most common duty of an estate planning lawyer is creating a will. A client approaches them and asks for help in designating beneficiaries. They also help set up a trust for someone who wants to protect their assets and have them handed over to the beneficiaries. In some cases, the lawyer may help the client to reduce or avoid estate taxes when possible.

Often, attorneys for trusts and wills will charge a flat fee to help craft binding legal documents. However, they can also be contracted to help with estate maintenance or act on your behalf when disputes arise. Simply put, the lawyer ensures that whatever you spelled out in the will is followed to the letter.

5. Auto Accident

Like personal injury lawyers, an auto injury lawyer will definitely come up when you ask what are the different lawyers. They help victims with personal claims. The difference is, auto injury lawyers specifically handle car accidents. As the name implies, auto accident attorneys represent car accident victims and help them seek fair compensation after accident-related injuries. According to the Library of Medicine, auto accident lawyers play a pivotal role in enabling claimants to access their legal entitlements.

For most claims, the main goal of the lawyers is to get you financial assistance to cover expenses. The expenses may include medical bills, lost wages, vehicle repair, emotional pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and permanent disability. Of course, they seek only compensation within the thresholds stipulated in the state laws.

If you decide to be a car accident injury lawyer, you need to know applicable laws, such as Tort law. You’ll help prospective clients understand their rights and how they can legally protect themselves. Also, you’ll look at the prevailing evidence and guide you on how to seek financial recovery.

6. Workplace Liability

If you ask, what are the different lawyers? One answer that will definitely pop up is the workers comp attorney. This is a litigator who helps victims of a workplace illness or injury pursue their deserved benefits. According to the SSA, over 100 million employees file for work-related compensation yearly. The claims are mostly for lost wages, mental anguish, and medical expenses. Since dealing with employers directly can be daunting, the affected employees bring in a workers compensation attorney.

Besides pursuing financial compensation, lawyers in this field also facilitate communication with insurance and medical professionals. They offer advice on completing crucial paperwork and save the employee the hassle of going through messy legal processes. Often, a workers comp lawyer will come in when an insurance adjuster fails to resolve a case.

Work comp lawyers are versed in occupational law at state and federal levels. They comb through all the evidence provided, from medical records to insurance documents, to mount a solid case. Work comp lawyers tend to avoid trial. Suffice it to say they advise and handle claims and settlements outside the court.

7. Business

The interaction between business and law is cast in stone. For this reason, many business owners ask; what are the different lawyers? In most cases, business people seek attorney services to ensure their operations are in line with state and federal laws. A local bankruptcy attorney is one of the prominent lawyers in the business world. They provide legal advice to clients who have had it rough financially. According to the DOJ, there are five chapters on bankruptcy that a lawyer should be versed in, including the liquidation proceeding of chapter 7 in the United States codes. With the knowledge of the Bankruptcy Code in mind, a lawyer will know how to prepare legal documents and represent the client in court.

Local bankruptcy attorneys usually advise clients on whether to file for bankruptcy and the exact type to file. They explain how the process works and what court-provided forms you need to fill out. Also, they look at the debts and contemplate which ones can be eliminated or reduced. Depending on the circumstances of the case, they can also tell a client whether they will keep their property once the case is complete.

Being a bankruptcy lawyer means steering clients in the right legal direction. The legalities involving insolvency can be complicated, especially for people who’ve never gone through a legal process. So, your duty will be to explain the case’s nuances and help the client avoid any legal mistakes that may bring about long-term financial consequences.

8. Malpractice and Medical Liability

According to the National Library of Medicine, a patient may allege that a clinician has engaged in medical malpractice. This means the clinician has failed to provide care, resulting in injury to the patient. With the AMA reports showing that one in three clinicians is sued at least once, there is a need for legal representation for patients who allege medical malpractice. That’s where the medical malpractice lawyer comes in.

Medical malpractice lawyers operate on behalf of their clients, typically victims of medical malpractice. The complainants usually believe that the healthcare provider did the wrong procedure or they neglected their duty. It could have been a medical misdiagnosis, unreasonable delays, surgical errors, or failure to obtain consent before treatment.

The day-to-day tasks of medical malpractice lawyers include developing case theories and putting together testimonies and expert reports. Also, they gather and analyze medical records and then set up independent medical examinations to obtain an objective evaluation of the client. Often, the lawyer sub-specializes in a specific type of malpractice, such as surgery mistakes or birth-related injuries.

9. Social Program

When people can’t work because of a mental or physical condition, they are eligible for Social Security Administration (SSA) benefits. However, according to the SSA, the rules for determining disability are complicated, and the process can be a difficult experience for people attempting to qualify for benefits. Since it could take months for a case to progress, the person involved usually opts to use a social security attorney.

A disability lawyer will look at the nuances of the case and guide you on the best way forward. They usually understand Social Security inside and out and know where to start with the probe. The lawyer will ask about the disability, medical history, and employment record during the first consultation. That will help establish how successful your case will be.

Based on the given information, the lawyer will mention the disability benefits the client qualifies for and how much they should expect to receive. The lawyer advises clients on what to do if their application is rejected. The litigator takes care of the SSA documentation and relieves the client of having to do complicated paperwork.

10. Commodity Cases

When you ask what are the different lawyers, it is unlikely for agricultural attorneys to come up. They usually don’t make it to the big scene, much like criminal case lawyers and family law experts. An agricultural attorney deals with land use and issues around agricultural labor and the environment. They help clients obtain permits and licenses that the state or federal government may require.

Agricultural lawyers help farmers to plan and preserve their farms. They also assist with zoning, setting up proprietorships, and providing clients with guidance on regulatory compliance. They deeply understand landowner rights and use that information to build and develop relationships with local farmers.


There you have it – ten answers to your questions about what are the different lawyers and what they do. That said, the type of lawyer you should become entirely depends on your career goals and area of interest. Think about your daily work, then choose your law degree specialization.

Also, consider your strengths. Some lawyers rely on their deep-running analytic abilities; others benefit from strong interpersonal skills. Refer to the lawyers listed above to understand the skills needed for each type. That should help you make an informed decision before proceeding to law school. An online search of the query – what are the different lawyers? – will give you more results. Delve deeper into the area that tickles your fancy. All the best in your endeavor!