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What Are the Practice Areas in Law?
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The field of law is vast and covers many different areas of life, governing the process of determining the interpretation, application, and enforcement of local, state, and federal laws. Due to the broad range of subjects which law applies to, many attorneys choose to specialize in one or two practice areas. Attorneys who choose to practice in a wider variety of areas are considered general practitioners. To discover what kind of lawyer you need, simply look into what practice area your problem falls into and choose an attorney accordingly. Don’t be afraid to ask about an attorney’s experience in that particular practice area before signing on.
There Are Many Practice Areas in Law.
To learn what practice area your problem belongs to, take a look at the areas and their definitions below. Most issues are fairly easy to categorize, and from there finding an attorney who can help should be easy. It’s also a good idea to look up what kind of rates can be expected from lawyers in a certain practice area; rates can differ widely depending on the practice area in question. Practice areas in law include the following:
- Bankruptcy: This practice area deals with helping people choose what kind of bankruptcy to file as well as evaluating potential alternate options to bankruptcy. Bankruptcy attorneys may also be able to help assess a client’s financial situation and offer options other than bankruptcy.
- Business law: This practice area deals with advertising, media, intellectual property, contract law, in addition to most aspects that go into running a business or resolving a business-related dispute.
- Civil rights: This practice area deals with addressing violations of civil rights such as discrimination, voting rights, public education, and public housing.
- Class action law: This practice area handles lawsuits involving a large number of injured parties, enough that filing individual lawsuits for each injured party would be unreasonable.
- Constitutional law: This practice area deals with the interpretation and application of rights set forth in the Constitution of the United States.
- Criminal defense: This practice area deals with providing just representation for people charged with a criminal offense.
- DUI law: This practice area deals with recovering monetary compensation for people injured in a situation involving an intoxicated party.
- Education law: This practice area deals with enforcing student rights and adequate standards of education environments.
- Elder law: This practice area deals primarily with correcting and recovering compensation for elders suffering from abuse by family, friends, or inside a care facility. Elder law attorneys may also help clients with issues involving Social Security, disability, and estate planning.
- Employment and labor law: This practice area deals with addressing violations of employment and labor standards including issues such as discrimination, workplace harassment, fair pay, safety in a work environment, and more.
- Energy law: This practice area revolves around the regulation and distribution of different forms of energy, such as electricity, oil, gas, solar energy, wind energy, and more.
- Entertainment law: This practice area deals with anything from contracts between entertainment industry workers to legal protections regarding intellectual property.
- Environmental law: This practice area involves the interpretation and application of legislation in place to protect the natural environment of the United States, often by litigating against parties responsible for unreasonably polluting the air, earth, or water.
- ESI (Electronically Stored Information) law: This practice area refers to the process of electronically uncovering evidence, or using digitally stored evidence, to augment evidence alleged in a lawsuit.
- Estate planning: This practice area deals with anticipating and administrating an estate during and after a person’s life, using tools such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and more.
- Family law: This practice area deals with any issues involving the establishment of family relationships. Common areas of family law include prenuptial, marriage, divorce, child custody, child support, parentage, and more.
- Healthcare law: This practice area deals with the body of statutes, laws, and codes that regulate health care, such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
- Insurance law: This practice area involves enforcing fair treatment of policyholders by insurance companies and the correction of wrongly denied claims.
- Immigration law: This practice area covers tasks including adjustment of immigration status, deportation, types of visas, and even the rights of children of illegal immigrant parents.
- International law: This practice area refers to the set of rules and standards that are generally accepted in relations between nations.
- Juvenile law: This practice area refers to the statutes that govern how minors should be treated after committing a crime.
- Legal malpractice defense: This practice area deals with defending lawyers in cases where they are accused of failing to meet the standards set forth by the American Bar Association.
- Mesothelioma: This practice area focuses on recovering monetary compensation for those who developed mesothelioma most often as a result of exposure to asbestos.
- Military law: This practice area refers to the law that governs all members of the armed forces, and is primarily made up of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
- Personal injury law: This practice area deals with a wide variety of cases in which a person is injured or otherwise harmed by the negligent acts of another party.
- Medical malpractice: This practice area deals with the legal ramifications that arise when a health care professional does not exercise a proper standard of care, resulting in the serious injury of a patient.
- Premises liability: This practice area involves cases in which a person is injured by unsafe conditions which should reasonably have not existed on a property owner’s or business’s premises.
- Product liability: This practice area deals with recovering monetary compensation for people injured or otherwise harmed by a defective product.
- Public interest law: This practice area refers to the interest of a person or parties for the wellbeing of the common good, usually through the management of local, state, and national affairs of government.
- Real estate law: This practice area deals with cases involving homes and homeownership. Common issues handled in real estate law include buying/selling a house or property, home defects, landlord/tenant relationships, and foreclosures.
- Tax law: This practice area deals with the often complicated laws regarding taxes; such as who can be taxed, how much, when, as well as helping individuals through difficult tax audits.
- Traffic accidents: This practice area deals with recovering monetary compensation for people injured in traffic accidents including pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, train accidents, bus accidents, boat accidents, and more.
- Workers’ compensation: This practice area, commonly referred to as “workers’ comp”, involves helping injured workers receive the compensation they need to help cover damages such as medical bills and lost wages.
- Wrongful death: This practice area deals with cases in which a person’s injuries leading to death or outright death were caused by another party’s negligence.
Despite the similarities between many of these areas of law, there are unique differences between each practice area which are important to take into account when litigating a case. This is why it’s a good idea to make sure that an attorney has knowledge, training, and experience in the practice area of your issue before hiring them. To learn more about practice areas or to discuss which area your legal problem falls into, seek legal counsel.