What does a lawyer do
Do you thrive at influencing and persuading others? Are you interested in justice and the law? You may want to consider a career as a lawyer!
The exact terminology for the word "lawyer" varies throughout the world. Attorney, counsel, barrister, or solicitor are all various names given to lawyers. The origin of the profession dates back to ancient Greece, when orators spoke on behalf of friends or citizens at their request.
A lawyer is licensed to practice law, and is obligated to uphold the law while also protecting their client's rights. Some duties commonly associated with a lawyer include:
The law is so broad and extensive that it is impossible for a single lawyer to successfully provide legal counsel across each different area of law. It can be likened to a doctor that focuses on a specific area of the body or a specific type of ailment or disease — lawyers also specialize in one or two related areas of law.
Lawyer specializations include:
Divorce lawyers specialize in the many legal aspects that need to be addressed when terminating a marriage. Some of these details may include child custody, legal filings, and the division of assets and debts amongst spouses. In the case of legal separations, a divorce lawyer will grant the separation in the form of a court order (a legal separation is a process by which a married couple may formalize a separation while remaining legally married). When there are children involved, a divorce lawyer will help set the terms for child support and child custody.
Throughout the divorce process, lawyers try to ensure that they are protecting their client's rights and that their client is given a just settlement once the marriage has been legally dissolved. A divorce lawyer must systematically investigate each case in order to substantiate the supporting evidence. The compiled paperwork documenting the evidence must cover every single detail before it is submitted to the court. A divorce lawyer must also be an attentive listener and must remain non-judgmental—these skills are vital when dealing with such a variety of clients.
A family lawyer handles anything having to do with direct family issues, such as adoption, surrogacy, child abuse, child abduction, spousal abuse, estate or family planning, divorce, custody battles, paternity determinations, juvenile delinquency, child emancipation, prenuptial agreements, and name changes. Lawyers practicing family law represent their clients in family court proceedings or in negotiations and also draft any necessary legal documents.
While some family lawyers only focus on divorce, most cover all areas of family law. Divorce law and family law are sometimes thought of as one in the same, however, divorce law is only one of many issues a family lawyer deals with. It is interesting to note that a family lawyer can handle a divorce, but a divorce lawyer usually does not have the expertise to represent clients in other family law matters.
Immigration lawyers determine the legal rights, obligations, and duties of individuals considered aliens and specialize in helping them gain legal citizenship within a specific country. They will also assist with citizenship tests, represent individuals in court to prevent them from being deported, and help get immediate access citizenship to those in emergency situations.
The immigration process can be very complicated - immigration lawyers do a lot of work on behalf of their clients, such as analyzing all the possibilities and strategies that might be needed throughout the process, preparing paperwork, organizing the documents and forms that will be needed for the application, and preparing testimony and statements. They usually act as mediators between clients and immigration authorities.
A criminal lawyer represents defendants and organizations facing criminal charges in state and federal courts. This can include fraud, domestic violence crimes, theft, embezzlement, violent crimes, driving under the influence (DUI), sex crimes, and drug-related crimes. The scope of practice for a criminal lawyer includes trials, bail bond hearings, post-conviction remedies, plea bargains, and revocation hearings (parole or probation).
After investigating a case, a criminal lawyer will interview all witnesses involved, research the statutes, case law, and crime codes, and then build a defence as well as develop a case strategy. Negotiation with the prosecution is typically involved in order to plea bargain to lesser charges. During trial, the criminal lawyer will advocate for the defendant and argue motions (motions to dismiss or motions to suppress), and also argue appeals — all motions and appeals need to be drafted and filed by the lawyer in advance.
Accident and Personal Injury Lawyer
Accident and personal injury law involves civil law cases that focus on physical and psychological injuries due to an accident. This type of lawyer tends to practice primarily in the area of law known as tort law, and provides legal service to those who claim to have been injured as a result of the negligence of another person or entity.
They help those who have suffered injuries get reimbursement for the costs that they have incurred - this compensation is often needed to pay for medical treatment and make up for lost wages. Examples of common personal injury claims include traffic collisions, slip and fall accidents, workplace injuries, defective products, and professional malpractice.
Most accident and personal injury claims are settled without going to trial. There are times, however, that the only way for a victim to get compensation is by going through a full civil trial, if their insurance company denies the claim. Litigation can be extremely complex and requires strict adherence to specific procedures and rules of evidence.
Business and Corporate Lawyer
Business and corporate lawyers can handle a wide range of legal issues for publicly held companies and privately held businesses, and specialize in counseling and guiding their clients through complex legal processes.
They focus on agency and employment law, contracts, sales, commercial paper, business organizations, and property and bailment. Their expertise can range from being able to assist brand new internet companies with their start-up needs to negotiating complex acquisitions for multibillion dollar companies.
Business transactions may include: negotiating, drafting and reviewing mergers, acquisitions and divestitures; advising on the rights and responsibilities of corporate directors and officers; assisting with the financial information business owners must provide to their employees, owners, and shareholders; and assisting with the mandatory reporting to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other government agencies.