What Are The Different Types Of Lawyers?

A lawyer sitting at his desk writing with a computer, law books and a gavel next to him

Lawyers help people with various legal matters. Becoming a lawyer requires approximately seven years of postsecondary education, and it remains a popular career choice in the United States. The U.S. was home to 833,100 lawyers in 2021, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Aspiring lawyers must earn an undergraduate degree, complete three years of studies at an accredited law school to earn their law degree, and pass the bar exam. During law school, aspiring lawyers choose a specialization. Their specialization governs some of their studies, ensuring they have the depth of legal knowledge needed to work in that field of law. There are multiple types of lawyers, including the ones explored here.

Corporate Attorneys

Corporate lawyers work for businesses. They review business contracts and practices, ensuring their company complies with applicable laws. They may also negotiate business or employment contracts. 

Personal Injury Lawyers

Personal injury lawyers fight for compensation for clients who’ve been in an accident or suffered an injury. Some personal injury lawyers specialize in one or more subcategories of personal injury law.

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

Many older people spend their final years living in nursing homes. Some nursing home residents experience abuse or neglect from their caregivers. Mistreated residents can turn to a nursing home abuse lawyer to fight for financial compensation. 

Medical Malpractice Lawyers

Every year, thousands of patients are victims of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice occurs when medical professionals fail to provide standard medical treatment. It also includes negligent or inappropriate acts, such as giving a patient the wrong medication. Medical malpractice lawyers may file suits against medical institutions, physicians, nurses, or other medical care providers.

Truck Accident Lawyers

Truck accident lawyers handle cases involving large trucks, such as dump trucks, 18-wheelers, and buses. The size of these vehicles affects the scale of damage, and vehicle maintenance and work conditions may cause truck accidents. A truck accident lawyer pursues maintenance and employee records to determine if the company’s actions contributed to the accident. For example, requiring drivers to work long shifts without breaks could cause driver fatigue, resulting in an accident and making the company liable for damages.  

Have you recently been involved in a personal injury or automotive accident?

Slip and Fall Injury Lawyers

Millions of slip-and-fall accidents occur each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 20% of fall victims suffer severe injuries. When facilities fail to mark slippery floors or fix broken handrails, they may be liable for damages from fall victims. Slip and fall injury lawyers use their legal knowledge to ensure victims receive appropriate compensation.

Criminal Attorneys

Criminal attorneys work in criminal courts. Some represent defendants, while others work as prosecutors.

Defense Attorneys

Defense attorneys are trial attorneys who represent people charged with a crime. People charged with traffic violations, theft, fraud, assault, or other criminal acts can hire a defense attorney to present their cases in court.


A prosecutor is a court lawyer who prepares a case against a person charged with a crime. They appear in court, call witnesses, and present evidence to establish the defendant’s guilt. Prosecutors may represent the state or the federal government.

Immigration Attorneys

Immigration attorneys handle immigration and emigration cases. These attorneys at law may represent people seeking political asylum, those applying for visas, or those seeking permanent residence. Immigration attorneys prepare immigration applications and appeals.

Estate Planning Lawyers

Estate planning lawyers work with clients to ensure their final wishes are respected. Estate planning lawyers prepare trusts and wills, ensuring their client’s assets are divided among their chosen beneficiaries. 

Intellectual Property Lawyers

Intellectual property includes written works, music, designs, and inventions. IP lawyers work with clients filing patents or dealing with copyright infringement claims. IP lawyers may sue companies or individuals for copying or using their client’s work without consent.

Labor Lawyers

Employment law governs the conduct of employers and employees. Employees fired without cause may turn to a labor lawyer and pursue a case against their former employer. Employees may also work with a labor lawyer to seek compensation for workplace harassment. Labor lawyers fight to ensure employees don’t experience discrimination based on their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. Employers may also hire labor lawyers to handle suits against employees.

Family Lawyers

Family lawyers handle legal matters concerning families. Some family lawyers may handle a range of cases, while others specialize in specific types of family law.

Divorce Lawyers

A divorce attorney prepares paperwork so clients can pursue a divorce. Divorce attorneys may help clients negotiate settlements dividing the couple’s property and assets. Divorce attorneys represent their clients in court when the couple can’t reach a negotiated settlement. 

Adoption Lawyers

Adoption lawyers help individuals navigate the adoption process. These lawyers may represent individuals who wish to adopt a child or parents who allowed someone to adopt their child and now wish to regain custody. 

Child Custody Lawyers

Parents who aren’t married may need child custody lawyers to resolve custody disputes. Child custody lawyers fight for their clients to receive their desired custody settlement. They may also seek conditions for visitation or shared custody. 

Child Support Lawyers

Child support lawyers pursue child support orders and compliance. Child support lawyers handle cases when a parent hasn’t paid child support and may seek income withholding for future payments and arrears.

Constitutional Lawyers

A constitutional lawyer specializes in constitutional law. These lawyers review laws to ensure they correspond to the rights set out in the constitution. Some constitutional lawyers work for the government, while others work for advocacy groups. 

Tax Lawyers

Individuals and businesses must pay taxes, and sometimes, people face legal issues related to their taxes. Tax lawyers help clients deal with legal tax issues. Some tax lawyers work for the government and represent their interests when seeking tax payments. Other tax lawyers work for accounting firms, advocacy groups, or individual clients. 

Bankruptcy Lawyers

Financial hardship prompts some people to file for bankruptcy to resolve their debts. Bankruptcy lawyers work with individuals experiencing financial hardships and explain their rights and options. These lawyers help clients determine whether they qualify to file for bankruptcy and the best way to resolve their issues.

Lawyers familiarize themselves with cases involving their chosen legal specialty. Understanding the role of different types of lawyers ensures you consult appropriate legal counsel for your legal needs.


Facts About Falls. (2021).

Occupational Outlook Handbook: Lawyers. (2022).

What is medical malpractice? (2017).