The Many and Varied Types of Attorneys

There are so many types of attorneys that you can probably think of one for almost every stage of life, from attorneys focusing on marriage contracts to attorneys dealing with hereditary claims.

They say we live in an increasingly litigious society where people are increasingly likely to go to court to resolve their differences.

This is probably an improvement from the days of the Wild West, when people went to their guns to find redress, but I’m not sure it is the best of all worlds.

Regardless, there would seem to be ample business for an army of various types of attorneys; unfortunately, several armies’ worth of individuals with law degrees are out there, mostly languishing.

The general rule is the 70% of all the legal work is done by only 10% of those with law degrees. Not very good rates if you hope to make it as an attorney these days.

Public versus Private Attorneys

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One of the major divisions when it comes to attorneys is between public and private attorneys.

The government employs a huge number of attorneys to help individual agencies, from the IRS to the HUD department, run their programs.

It is no surprise that the number one profession for our elected officials is attorney at law.

The main purpose of the legislature, of course, is creating laws, so who would be better suited to understanding the intricacies of the law than lawyers themselves.

Among the types of government workers who begin as lawyers are also the various types of attorneys who go on to become judges, who interpret the constitutionality of particular laws, and who help preside over our justice system.

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You might include the Supreme Court and the ninety or so Federal Prosecutors among this group of government workers.

Civil versus Criminal Lawyers

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You might further divide types of attorneys between those who help defend against criminal accusations and those that help defend and initiate private disputes between individuals and companies.

In the first category, you find the basic criminal defense attorney of the kind that O.J. Simpson hired to help him mount his defense.

Some of these attorneys are government workers court appointed to defend those who cannot afford their own private attorneys. Many, however, are private attorneys who have specialized in criminal law.

Corporate versus Individual Attorneys

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You might further subdivide the types of attorneys into those that represent individuals and those that represent corporations and other large entities.

Individuals often hire attorneys to perform particular civil actions, such as help broker a divorce settlement or sue a doctor or larger corporation for malpractice.

Corporations also retain what we call “house attorneys,” so they can preemptively troubleshoot advertising claims or product lines.

For example, attorneys will often go over a magazine’s articles to make sure the writers have not made libelous claims that could expose the magazine to lawsuits.

Environmental and Intellectual Property Attorneys

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Two of the innovative types of attorneys today are those that deal with environmental law and those who deal with questions of intellectual property.

As lawmakers, public interest groups and the general public become more and more concerned about the impact of climate change, more and more corporations have started to hire attorneys that focus on environmental law in order to protect themselves and help to lobby the legislature.

Although some environmental attorneys work for non-profit groups who are seeking curbs on pollution, the vast majority of environmental attorneys work for corporations seeking to avoid breaking environmental laws.

Intellectual property is also a field growing in popularity. The expansion of the Internet and the attempts to codify copy write laws has produced the growing field of intellectual property. As of yet, however, much is still up in the air when it comes to this kind of law.

Regardless of your concern when it comes to life, you are libel to find an attorney who specializes in exactly that area if you just look hard enough.

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