For most of us, a lawyer is a broad term. When we have legal questions, we might regularly call on a lawyer friend or family member and end up finding the answers we need, without even knowing the area of law they practice.
However, suppose you’re facing a criminal charge, divorce, workplace injury, or any other legal scenario that involves contracts or showing up in court. In these circumstances, you need to know what type of lawyer you need for your case.
How do I know the type of lawyer I need?
If this is your first time needing a lawyer, your options can be a bit overwhelming. There are dozens of categories of lawyers out there (also referred to as attorneys at law). Some may practice solo or work at a small or large law firm. When it comes to searching for the right lawyer, start with your local area because you’ll want to hire a lawyer that’s accessible and one with a license to practice law in your state.
Many lawyers have experience in several different areas of law, while others will choose to focus on one particular area, such as divorce and family law. Some lawyers only work on a state level, and others practice at both the state and federal levels. Civil lawyers handle non-criminal cases that involve private matters. For instance, if you’re suing a neighbor over the placement of a fence, composing business contracts, or need legal assistance for other personal transactions, a civil lawyer can be helpful.
How do I find the right lawyer for my case?
You have to consider your circumstances when searching for the right lawyer for your case. Begin with lawyers that advertise areas of practice that match your needs. For instance, if you’re creating a prenuptial contract before marriage, a lawyer practicing family law can assist you. A criminal defense lawyer should be contacted immediately after being charged with a criminal offense. If you’re pulled over for a DUI, a lawyer that focuses on traffic violations will be a wise choice.
Most of all, you want to find a lawyer with extensive experience in your type of case. Lawyers typically offer a free consultation to discuss a client’s circumstances before a hire. If you’re unsure of what lawyer will be best for you, don’t hesitate to schedule a few different consultations with various lawyers. These introductory meetings give you a chance to ask questions and get to know each lawyer better.
Some important questions to ask a lawyer at initial consultations include:
- How much experience do you have with cases like mine?
- Will you be the lawyer handling my case? If not, who will be assisting me?
- What do you think my options are?
- Will you be accessible throughout the duration of my case?
- How much do you charge?
Asking the right questions at consultations can help you decide if the lawyer is experienced, meets your budget, and is accessible.
What type of lawyer is used most of the time?
There are dozens of classifications of lawyers out there. Understanding what types of lawyers are used most of the time can be helpful when narrowing down your search. Here’s a list of lawyers most commonly used and a short description of what they do:
A criminal lawyer can defend you if you’ve been charged with a crime. They can negotiate with the prosecutor, investigate your charges, and help you work towards the best possible outcome.
Immigration lawyers help people seeking asylum, citizenship, visas, and green cards.
Family lawyers can handle anything from divorce and child custody to child support and adoption cases.
Personal Injury Lawyer
Suppose you’ve been in an accident or been injured somewhere, such as at a grocery store or a private property. In that case, a personal injury lawyer can make sure that you’re compensated for your injuries.
Estate Planning Lawyer
When the time comes to draw up a will, you’ll want to work with an estate planning lawyer. Estate planning lawyers can help compose trusts, design contracts dividing up assets, and prepare financial planning for future generations.
Filing for bankruptcy can be a long, comprehensive, and exhausting process. A bankruptcy lawyer can help you learn if you qualify for bankruptcy and assist you with filing procedures.
Medical Malpractice Lawyer
In some unfortunate cases, a doctor can do more harm than good. Those who have suffered from mistakes made by doctors can benefit from the help of a medical malpractice lawyer.
Civil Litigation Lawyer
Civil litigation lawyers can help represent those being sued or have an interest in suing someone else for a variety of legal reasons.
Tax laws can be complex and confusing for most people without accounting degrees. If you’ve gotten into trouble with the IRS, it’s recommended to contact a tax lawyer.
Worker’s Compensation Lawyer
There are countless ways an employee can be injured, get sick, or face other devastating circumstances while on the job. In these cases, it’s necessary to work closely with a worker’s compensation lawyer.
What are the most common reasons to need a lawyer?
There are a wide variety of reasons why someone might need a lawyer. Here are a few common scenarios that call for the help of a lawyer:
- You’re facing criminal charges.
- You’re getting divorced.
- You’re dealing with a child custody battle.
- You’re building a business.
- You need to compose a will.
- You got a DUI.
- You’re injured in an accident at work.
- You have legal issues with a landlord.
- You’re in trouble with the IRS.
How do I find a lawyer?
The internet can provide an endless list of potential lawyers, so it can be a bit difficult to narrow down your search, even if you know the type of lawyer you need. A good place to start is asking friends and family members for recommendations, especially if they’ve been in your situation in the past.
It’s also wise to check ratings, reviews, and client testimonials. This can give you a better idea of a lawyer’s legal skills, case results, and if clients had a good experience working with them. Lastly, as mentioned above, taking advantage of free consultations and asking the right questions can help you find the right lawyer for you.
There are several ways to approach hiring a lawyer and finding the right one for your case. First, you have to consider your circumstances and try to find a lawyer with experience working on cases like yours. Always meet potential lawyers for a consultation to discuss your case and ask questions like “how much do you charge?” and “what experience do you have?”. Lastly, remember to check their reviews and ratings online. If they have a history of successful outcomes in cases like yours, you’ll be able to see that through testimonials from previous clients.