24 Types Of Lawyers (With Examples)

By Abby McCain
Aug. 17, 2022

Find a Job You Really Want In

If you’re interested in becoming a lawyer there are more specialized areas available to you within the field than you might realize.

The good news is that this also means there is a specialty that will fit your skills and passions best.

In this article, you’ll learn about the many different types of lawyers and what they do so that you can decide how you want to specialize.

Key Takeaways:

  • There are many types of lawyers including criminal lawyers, coporate lawyers, estate planning lawyers, and tax attorneys.

  • The average salary of a corporate lawyer is $125,000.

  • The two main types of criminal lawyers are defense attorneys and prosecuting attorneys.

24 Types Of Lawyers (With Examples)

Types of Lawyers

  1. Criminal lawyer
    Average Annual Salary: $83,684

    Criminal lawyers are who most people think of first when they think about becoming a lawyer. They’re the ones who show up in court to either prosecute or defend a client who has been charged with a crime.

    If you become a criminal lawyer in the U.S., you’ll need to know not only federal criminal laws but also state and even city and county laws where you’ve passed the bar exam and now work.

    You can also specialize within criminal law and focus on specific offenses such as DUIs and DWIs. Public defense attorneys also fall under this category.

    Find Criminal lawyer jobs near me

  2. Bankruptcy lawyer
    Average Annual Salary: N/A

    Bankruptcy lawyers assist both corporate and individual debtors and creditors through the bankruptcy process. This includes helping them determine if they need to declare bankruptcy or if there are other options they can pursue.

    If you choose to go into this specialty, you’ll need to be ready for your workload to ebb and flow with the economy since more foreclosures, debt, and failing businesses mean more cases for you.

  3. Immigration Attorney
    Average Annual Salary: $79,000

    If you become an immigration lawyer, you’ll be able to help your clients navigate through the complex immigration process until they become citizens. This includes helping them obtain green cards, refugee status, and jobs, as well as dealing with deportations if necessary.

    You’ll also work with businesses that want to set up shop in the U.S. to make sure they obtain all of the licenses and permits they need to do so legally.

    Because of the complexity of immigration laws, this field is highly specialized, which means it’s difficult to switch over to another focus, so you need to be sure this is what you want to do. But, it’s also highly rewarding, as you’ll get the opportunity to help immigrants reach their lifelong dreams.

    Find Immigration lawyer jobs near me

  4. Family lawyer
    Average Annual Salary: $110,166

    Family lawyers work with divorces, annulments, prenuptial agreements, child custody, child support and alimony, adoptions, and anything else that has to do with familial relationships.

    Many of these laws are set by individual states instead of by the federal government, so if you go into this field, you’ll need to learn the laws specific to the state where you’re practicing.

    If you want to become a family lawyer, you’ll need excellent interpersonal and listening skills so that you’ll be able to handle the highly sensitive situations and emotions of your clients.

    Find Family lawyer jobs near me

  5. Estate planning attorney
    Average Annual Salary: $83,795

    If you want a desk job and have a good head for finance, estate planning law might be the specialty for you. You’ll work with your clients to help them draft their wills and create trusts for their children, as well as give them advice about their retirement plans and charitable donations.

    This field involves a lot of paperwork, so it might be an excellent fit for you if you have strong organizational skills and don’t mind desk work.

    Find Estate planning lawyer jobs near me

  6. Corporate lawyer
    Average Annual Salary: $125,000

    Corporate or business lawyers typically work for one business and provide counsel as the organization establishes and changes its corporate structure, navigates governance and compliance issues, and handles mergers and acquisitions.

    If you become a corporate lawyer, you’ll protect the organization you work for rather than the people who run it. This brings its own unique set of challenges and skills, so consider that as you contemplate this specialty.

    Find Corporate lawyer jobs near me

  7. Employment/labor lawyer
    Average Annual Salary: N/A

    While corporate lawyers focus on protecting the company itself, employment or labor lawyers represent the employees that work for them.

    If you enter this field, you’ll help your clients navigate severance packages, unlawful terminations, and harassment and discrimination claims. Often your clients will be individuals who don’t have a union to act on their behalf.

  8. Workers’ compensation lawyer
    Average Annual Salary: N/A

    When employees are injured, become sick, or are killed as a result of their job, they or their families can hire a workers’ compensation lawyer to help them get the restitution they deserve.

    This specialty does require lawyers to be in the courtroom pretty regularly, so keep this in mind as either a pro or a con when you’re deciding what you want to pursue.

  9. Contract Attorney
    Average Annual Salary: $82,000

    Contract lawyers specialize in –- you guessed it -– contracts. Whether it’s creating them, advising clients to sign them, or handling problems that arise after they’ve been signed, you’ll be an expert at assisting individuals and corporations with their contract disputes.

    Find Contract Attorney jobs near me

  10. Intellectual property lawyer
    Average Annual Salary: $117,000

    Called IP lawyers for short, intellectual property lawyers assist clients with copyrights, trademarks, patents, and licensing for their unique creations and inventions.

    You’ll help clients both obtain and maintain these licenses and handle any infringement issues that come up after they have them. You’ll also help your clients avoid infringing on anyone else’s intellectual property.

    Lawyers in this field also typically specialize by industry, as the intellectual property laws vary within each one.

    Find Intellectual property lawyer jobs near me

  11. Real estate lawyer
    Average Annual Salary: $222,917

    Real estate lawyers do everything from assisting real estate agents, buyers, and sellers navigate the home buying process to advising construction companies about zoning laws.

    Real estate lawyers will also assist clients with foreclosures and evictions, whether they represent the landlord or the tenant.

    If you want to become a real estate lawyer, you’ll need to brush up on your negotiation skills. Whether it’s helping negotiate sale contracts or disputes between tenants and landlords, you’ll put these skills to good use throughout your career in real estate law.

    Find Real estate lawyer jobs near me

  12. Medical malpractice lawyer
    Average Annual Salary: N/A

    As much as they try to prevent mistakes, medical professionals do err. Medical malpractice lawyers specialize in cases where a doctor or other medical professional is sued for harming a patient.

    If working on cases involving medical professionals doesn’t interest you, other professionals that are held to rigorous standards such as lawyers, accountants, and government officials may hire you to help them avoid being sued for malpractice.

  13. Legal malpractice lawyer
    Average Annual Salary: N/A

    You’ll be working as a lawyer for a lawyer if you enter a career in legal malpractice. Cases might involve attorneys failing to serve their client’s best interests, violating confidentiality, or breaking with any other policy that could lead to a civil case, criminal case, or disbarment.

  14. Tax attorney
    Average Annual Salary: $92,000

    Most everyone knows that tax law is complicated and that breaking those laws can bring serious consequences. Because of this and because everyone has to pay taxes, tax attorneys have great job security.

    As a tax attorney, you’ll defend clients who are being sued by the IRS for tax fraud, evasion, or failure to file taxes.

    This is a law specialty that requires very little time in the courtroom, so if that sounds appealing to you and you enjoy working with numbers, this might be a great career option for you.

    Find Tax attorney jobs near me

  15. Civil litigation lawyer
    Average Annual Salary: $141,000

    When one individual wants to sue another, they’ll both need civil litigation lawyers to represent them.

    If you become a civil litigation lawyer, your cases could range from contract and property disputes to class action lawsuits. You also may deal with clients who are suing a city or other organization.

    Find Civil litigation lawyer jobs near me

  16. Social security disability lawyer
    Average Annual Salary: N/A

    The social security system is already complicated enough, but social security disability issues add another level of complexity.

    As a social security disability lawyer, you’ll help your clients file for disability and appeal if they were denied benefits or if their benefits were terminated or dramatically reduced.

  17. Personal injury lawyer
    Average Annual Salary: N/A

    When someone is injured in an accident such as a car crash, they can hire a personal injury lawyer to sue the other party involved in the crash for the financial damages caused by the injury.

    If you become a personal injury lawyer, though, you won’t only handle cases involving physical injury. Personal injury includes damage to the mind and emotions as well, so you will also encounter libel and defamation cases.

  18. Civil rights lawyer
    Average Annual Salary: N/A

    If you are passionate about defending citizens’ constitutional rights, this might be the law specialty for you.

    You’ll be consulted whenever a client wants to sue the government or other establishment for violating their civil rights, and you’ll be able to represent them in court as they work to get compensation.

    These cases are unique because they’re often high-profile and bring a lot of publicity. As a result, you’ll need to be comfortable handling this without compromising the case. You’ll also need to be able to explain the civil rights issues in order to educate your newfound audience.

  19. Environmental Attorney
    Average Annual Salary: $79,278

    If you love the outdoors and want to do something to protect the beauty of nature, becoming an environmental lawyer might be the career path for you.

    With this specialty, you’ll handle anything to do with environmental regulations, whether that’s air and water quality, species preservation, biodiversity, or waste management.

    You’ll work with government organizations, businesses, and private citizens to enforce the always-changing environmental laws and protect the Earth we live in.

    Find Environmental lawyer jobs near me

  20. General practice lawyer
    Average Annual Salary: N/A

    General practice lawyers don’t specialize in one specific area of the law. They can handle a wide array of issues, but they might not have the same technical expertise that their more specialized counterparts do.

    When consulting a general practice lawyer, always inquire about their areas of experience. Even a general practice will tend toward certain cases, whether by design or the particular legal need that’s most prevalent in the community they serve.

  21. Military lawyer
    Average Annual Salary: N/A

    While the jurisdiction of a military lawyer shifts to military courts and law, a military lawyer has the same general responsibilities as their civilian counterparts. Military attorneys only represent military personnel, both in civil and criminal cases.

    Each branch of the military has its own JAG (Judge Advocate General), but military personnel from any branch can contact any military legal representation. Note that military lawyers still need to learn general law in addition to the laws of the military. You can complete your legal training in the military or enter the military after fulfilling the JAG requirements.

  22. Traffic/DUI lawyer
    Average Annual Salary: N/A

    Even people who don’t have a sordid criminal past commit a traffic crime or two at some point. Traffic lawyers are there to make sure one bad driving mistake doesn’t ruin your life entirely.

    DUI cases are also shockingly common in the United States, so there’s a huge market out there for lawyers to make whole careers off this one specialty.

  23. Public interest lawyer
    Average Annual Salary: N/A

    A broad range of socially progressive lawyers serve the public interest in some way. They might work for non-profits, serve in governmental agencies, offer pro bono legal services to communities in need, or work on reforming the legal system from the inside.

    Public interest lawyers may earn less than their privately-employed counterparts, but if you’re interested in using your legal powers to create real value in the world rather than help billionaires hide their money better, this might be the field for you.

  24. Entertainment lawyer
    Average Annual Salary: N/A

    From athletes to musicians, entertainers have to negotiate contracts worth millions of dollars, and they rely on attorneys to draft contracts that further their interests.

    Entertainment lawyers also litigate in cases of copyright infringement, help celebrities trademark their brands, ensure royalties are paid out, and work to settle any other legal issues their clients face.

Types of Lawyer FAQ

  1. What are the two main types of criminal lawyers?

  2. The two main types of criminal lawyers are defense attorneys and prosecuting attorneys. Defense attorneys defend the accused during the trial and provide legal counsel. Prosecuting attorneys, also known as district attorneys, represent either the local, state, or federal government, depending on what crime was committed.

  3. What type of lawyer get most paid?

  4. Real estate lawyers are some of the highest paid types of lawyers. Depending on the value of real estate these lawyers handle, they can get paid a lot, with an average salary around $222,917. This is also true for litigation lawyers, depending on the size of their case.

  5. Is law school difficult?

  6. Yes, law school is difficult. Students of law are expected to go through a rigorous education that includes reading dense material and reviewing complicated case studies. It requires a serious financial and time commitment, so anyone considering a career in law must be prepared to make sacrifices.

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Abby McCain

Abby is a writer who is passionate about the power of story. Whether it’s communicating complicated topics in a clear way or helping readers connect with another person or place from the comfort of their couch. Abby attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she earned a degree in writing with concentrations in journalism and business.

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