Legal matters can arise for any number of foreseen and unforeseen reasons. Car accidents and work injuries, business dealings and contracts, debt and money problems, family issues, immigration problems, criminal charges - the list goes on. Often, you can handle minor legal issues without professional help, but when you're unsure of your rights under the law, or the best solution for a given legal problem, you may need professional help. I need a lawyer.
What Kind of Lawyer Do You Need?
There are literally thousands of subspecialties of lawyers, but most fall into a smaller number of areas of practice. The following types of lawyers can be found on AllLaw.com:
Accidents & Injuries
When you’ve been injured by another person or business.
Auto Accident - Find an attorney focusing on car accidents, insurance claims, and related lawsuits.
Workers Compensation - If you were injured on the job, chances are your only legal remedy is a workers compensation claim.
Asbestos - Asbestos related mesothelioma and cancer cases require special lawyers.
Maritime - Injuries that occurred while at sea fall under the special rules of admiralty law.
Corporate, Small Business, Contracts & Personal Finance
For business owners and investors.
Business - These lawyers draw up contracts and advise business owners on legal issues, as well as provide representation in legal cases.
Crimes & Criminal Records
If you’ve been accused or charged with a crime.
When you need help dealing with debt.
If you’ve become injured or disabled, and can no longer work.
Disability (Generalists) For state-based and other disability claims. For disability discrimination see Employment or Legal Disputes (Civil Rights).
I need to find a lawyer
Employment & Labor Law
If you’re an employee or employer with a legal problem related to a job.
Estate Planning - Wills & Trusts
When you need to prepare an estate plan, need help with inheritance issues, or need to administer an estate after someone has died.
Estate Planning - If you need to draft a will, trust, power of attorney, advance directive, or complete estate plan.
Probate - Probate lawyers help administer estates after someone has passed away.
Family & Divorce
Everything related to family, from marriage to divorce.
Divorce - If you're facing or going through a divorce, these lawyers can help will all related matters.
Family - Family lawyers can help with everything from prenuptial agreements, adoptions, guardianships and more.
When you or someone you are trying to help needs to get into (temporarily or permanently) the United States.
Immigration Law - An immigration attorney can help navigate the complex world of U.S. Visas, Green Cards, Work Visas, Citizenship, and more.
Intellectual Property – Patents, Trademarks, Copyright & Licensing
If you’ve invented something or are making music or other entertainment related products.
Intellectual Property - Intellectual property lawyers specialize in patents, trademarks, and copyright issues, as well as licensing and other related uses of your intellectual property.
Patents - These lawyers focus on drawing up and processing patent applications to the USPTO.
These are broad categories of lawyers who can help with many everyday issues that don’t fit into the other types.
Litigation - When you need to sue or you're the defendant of a lawsuit.
Civil Rights - Discrimination & Harassment based on protected classes (race, gender, physical ability, sexual orientation).
Legal Malpractice - These lawyers sue other lawyers for failing to live up to their legal duty.
Real Estate & Property
If it’s related to property you own or lease, these are the lawyers to call.
Foreclosure - When your property is being foreclosed on, or you're considering walking away from a mortgage.
Commercial Real Estate - Need to negotiate a commercial lease agreement, or buy/sell commercial property? These lawyers can help.
What Should Be in Your Lawyers' Fee Agreement - If you're hiring a lawyer, make sure you have a clear, written fee agreement that spells out the cost of legal representation, related expenses, and the work to be done.
A good place to start is by contacting an experienced attorney in your community. While many attorneys specialize in a certain area of law, like personal injury or intellectual property, there are many attorneys who offer a full spectrum of services to provide aid to individuals who need help facing all sorts of legal issues that arise in life. These attorneys are called general practice lawyers.
General practice lawyers are a good source of information for people that have never had any legal disputes before or people that don't know exactly what kind of lawyer would be best for their needs. These lawyers have a broad range of knowledge on a number of topics and are generally able to provide clients with the advice they need to make prudent decisions about how to deal with the legal matter at hand.
To find an attorney for your legal needs, a good place to start is with the state Bar Association and online attorney directories like Nolo. If you are not sure what kind of attorney you need, start by contacting a general practice attorney.
Once you have a list of potential lawyers, call each one. During your phone call, make sure you explain your situation and ask if the attorney handles cases like yours. If the attorney does not handle cases like yours, ask for a recommendation for an attorney who can help you.
The lawyer careers
When you talk to each attorney, make sure you not only know that they are capable of handling your case, but understand the attorney's fees. Also, ask for references from former clients, find out where the attorney attended law school, consider how many years of experience the attorney has and check with the Better Business Bureau or state Bar Association to see if any ethics complaints have been filed against the attorney.
As with any decision you have to make in life, make sure you have a good feeling about the lawyer that you choose to work with. You may be working with this individual for quite some time; therefore, it is important to be comfortable with his or her communication style or demeanor.
When and Why You Should Get it In Writing - Not every contract has to be in writing to be valid and enforceable, but some contracts should be. How do you know when you need a written contract and what to put in it?
Negotiating Your Office Lease - Your lease for office space will have a large impact on the future of your business.
Hire a Lawyer Before Your Business Runs into Trouble - While many people never think to hire a lawyer until they have a legal problem, the time to hire your business lawyer is before your business runs into trouble.
Keeping You Legal Bills Under Control - If the thought of out of control legal bills is keeping you from hiring a lawyer for your business, you should know that there are some things you can do to keep your legal bills under control.
What You Can Expect From Your Lawyer? - A lawyer owes certain duties to his or her clients, including a duty to avoid conflicts of interest, a duty of confidentiality, a duty to provide competent representation, and others. But what does this mean to you?
Should You Include an Arbitration Clause in Your Contracts? - By including an arbitration clause in your contracts with customers and suppliers, you may be able to avoid costly litigation in the event of a dispute.
Don't Forget Licensing Requirements When Starting Your Business - Depending on what kind of business you are getting ready to start, you will need a variety of licenses to comply with state and local laws.
Common Zoning Restrictions for Home Businesses - If you're planning on operating your small business from home, you need to check out your local zoning restrictions first.