William Mwangi

From time to time, you will find yourself needing the services of an attorney to formalize various aspects of your day to day dealings. Attorneys specialize in different areas of legal practice, each of which is geared towards a given problem.

From defending you in court to cutting business deals, attorneys are important professionals in smoothing out the process. The responsibilities of different types of attorneys will often overlap, making it hard to delineate the boundaries between them. For example, a property transfer dispute can spill over into criminal law and the same lawyer or group of lawyers will continue to handle it. However, some prominent broad classifications can be used to characterize the work that lawyers do:

Criminal attorney

Popularized by TV shows such as The Wire, as well as the sheer attention that criminal cases such as O.J. Simpson’s murder trial receive, criminal lawyers are probably the most familiar type of attorney with lay persons. As the name suggests, they are involved in prosecution or defense of people or entities charged with criminal offenses. When a person is charged with a crime, a criminal defense attorney either self-hired or provided by the government will ensure that the arrestee’s detention, bail conditions and arraignment are within their legal rights, while preparing a defense to prove their innocence or lessen the punishment. On the other hand, a prosecutor, who is the state’s attorney leads the case against the defendant by directing evidence presentation in trying to convince the jury of the defendant’s guilt.

Real estate attorneys

This type of attorney specializes in matters relating to property such as transfer, rent and lease agreements, and property insurance. Real estate exchange is characterized by tension and anxiety which means that there are many legal aspects that go into closing a real estate deal. A real estate lawyer in their notary capacity, will ascertain that all documentation is in order including the deed, occupancy history and lease contracts. This preempts outcomes such as fraud, inaccurate recording and future disputes. Some jurisdictions require the presence of a real estate attorney for real estate deals to be legally binding.

Personal injury lawyers

Personal injury lawyers help victims of vehicular, occupational or other type of accidents to get compensation for damages related to their injuries. When a person is involved in an accident, the personal injury lawyer will engage the insurance company to determine the victim’s entitlement to emoluments, and ensure they are fairly compensated. Environmental hazards such as those presented by nuclear waste, asbestos and chemical spills make up a large section of cases handled by personal injury lawyers.

Family lawyer

The legal consequence of marriage is the central tenet that family lawyers occupy themselves with. They specialize in legal guidance and arbitration of family disputes such as property sharing, child custody and support, and divorce among others. During marriage dissolution, it is almost always the case for spouses to hire divorce attorneys to ensure that their interests are represented well. A family lawyer will also act as a custodian for property succession wills and trusts dictating how a parent’s or family’s property is to be divided.

Immigration attorney

Navigating the immigration process can often involve a lot of legal hurdles. Immigration lawyers help the average person get their documents in order and acquire all the requisite travel and transit permits. In cases where a person wishes to challenge a deportation order or residency permit revocation, an immigration lawyer will defend them to a court or tribunal. Immigration attorneys are familiar with the laws applicable in different situations regarding entry and residency status such as asylum, temporary residency and naturalization.

Employment lawyer

The contractual relationship between an employer and their employees is the main area of specialization for employment attorneys. The employment lawyer is there to ensure that both parties meet their contractual obligations. Some problems affecting employees such as unfair termination, poor compensation and dangerous working conditions require an experienced employment attorney to determine employer culpability and where necessary demand for compensation.

Corporate lawyer

The sophisticated nature of the corporate environment necessitates the retention of a corporate lawyer to cater to legal aspects relating to the day to day operations of organizations. It is not uncommon for large firms to have in-house corporate attorneys retained on a permanent basis to handle all the legal matters that arise in the organizational operation of the business. Corporate lawyers are highly involved in matters such as mergers, acquisitions, patent filing and other business operations that require foolproof legal documentation in place.


1. https://www.britannica.com/topic/business-law
2. https://www.britannica.com/topic/family-law
3. https://www.lifestyledaily.com/?id=L16&artid=215&preview=1
4. https://www.upcounsel.com/different-types-of-lawyers
5. https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/types-of-lawyers