Fields of Law
There are many different fields of law that a lawyer may specialize in one or more of, and within those fields of law there are many different subspecialties that are even more specifically nuanced than the larger specialty area. The same field of law can oftentimes have concurrent jurisdictions, for example between federal and state courts. Criminal and civil law are different court systems but oftentimes a person can be tried for a crime in a criminal court and also have a civil suit filed against them by an individual (or in some cases, a group of individuals) for the injuries they suffered as the result of the accused’s crime.
There are hundreds of areas of law that a lawyer may specialize in one or more area of. The following are just a few of the more common areas of law that lawyers in the United States often specialize in:
Criminal The behaviors that are sanctioned under criminal code and defined as illegal acts or practices fall under the jurisdiction of criminal law. Crimes can be tried at the state and federal level but are only prosecuted by the government. A private citizen cannot file a criminal lawsuit even though the government often tries criminal cases because of crimes committed against one or more private citizen. Criminal cases refer to the side of the government that is accusing an individual or entity of a crime as, the prosecution, and the attorneys at the federal level are known as, United States attorneys or district attorneys, or as chief federal prosecutors. The person accused of a crime is the defendant and if they cannot afford to hire a lawyer, they will typically be assigned a public defender that is paid for by the government.
Employment and Labor Employment and labor law focuses on addressing the legal rights of both workers and employers. Employment and labor law lawyers may focus on representing individual employees, a group of employees or job applicants, a union and union employees, government workers, businesses or companies, government workers, government agencies or interest groups.
Family Family law focuses on the relationships between individuals within the context of families. Prenuptuals, marriages, adoptions, divorces, child custody and support, alimony, and emancipation are all dealt with in family courts.
Personal Injury Personal injury law is a broad umbrella for many different kinds of claims that deal with intentional or unintentional wrongdoings that affect the physical or psychological well-being of another individual. In the United States, if someone becomes injured or ill, or dies, as the result of another person or entity’s negligent, reckless or malicious acts or behaviors, the victim and in some cases, their family, may be entitled to compensation for expenses that are related to their injury. There are many different specialty areas of personal injury law and within many of them are subspecialty areas that a lawyer may choose to focus much of their work on.
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