Most people know that they need to hire a lawyer when there are legal issues involved, but there are many different types of legal issues, and not all lawyers can help you with each. In law school, future lawyers can specialize in an area of law, and even become an attorney (a lawyer who practices law in court).
There are many different types of lawyers in Chicago, and here’s when you would need to hire each type.
Defense attorneys are probably what most people think of when thinking about lawyers. These attorneys deal with criminal and civil cases that are brought to court, which is why these lawyers are referred to as attorneys.
They handle different types of cases related to breaking the law, from drug and alcohol (DUIs) offenses to murder cases. Defense attorneys can work for a public defender’s office or in private practices (law firms).
Employment lawyers specialize in the laws affecting the employer-employee relationship. Unfortunately, the workplace can be full of conflict— from regular, everyday minor conflicts to more serious ones that may break the law. Employment lawyers may be hired by employees who are:
- Wrongfully terminated
- Laid off without proper notice
- Harassed at work
- Discriminate against
- Denied overtime pay
Employers can also hire employment lawyers to advise them on their rights and responsibilities, such as handling employee complaints, wage, and hour laws, and creating employee contracts.
Most people associate hiring a family lawyer with going through a divorce— and they aren’t wrong. Family lawyers are most known for handling the specifics of a divorce, including alimony payments.
They can also be hired before a marriage takes place, such as when drafting a prenuptial agreement. Another area often thought of when thinking of divorce lawyers is that of child custody.
Family lawyers are also called upon when there’s a custody dispute, as well as when a couple or individual wants to adopt a child. Establishing paternity and other family matters can also be handled by a family lawyer— just make sure that they have experience in your particular area since family law is very broad.
Personal Injury Lawyers
Personal injury lawyers are another type of well-known lawyer— specifically for helping you receive financial compensation if you were in a car accident. This is because car accidents are pretty common across the state of Illinois— though it doesn’t have the highest rate of car accidents. However, personal injury lawyers cover more than just care accidents:
- Worker’s compensation (injured at work)
- Premises liability (injured on public/private property)
- Class actions and mass torts (related to drug/product recalls)
Medical malpractice lawyers also fall under personal injury, as injury can occur when in the care of a medical professional. This also includes birth injuries and nursing home neglect/abuse since healthcare workers are involved.
Real Estate Lawyers
Many people may not have heard of real estate lawyers or thought about hiring a lawyer when they’re buying or selling a home or other property. Residential/commercial properties and land aren’t cheap buys, and you can lose a lot of money if you’re not familiar with the real estate industry.
You should definitely hire a real estate lawyer when buying a home or other property so they can review your contract and make sure everything is fair. You can also hire a real estate lawyer if you’re selling a property to help negotiate the sales price of the home, commercial building, or land. They can also help you deal with zoning issues and other legalities of real estate.
Unless you’re an accountant or are extremely familiar with tax laws, tax time can be pretty confusing— which is why most people hire someone else to do their taxes for them. Even if you already have an accountant, hiring a tax lawyer can also be beneficial, especially if you’re a business owner. A tax lawyer can help you with:
- Representation in audits
- Preparing tax returns
- Negotiating tax settlements
- Filing taxes
- Claiming deductions
You’ll also need a tax lawyer to help you choose the best way to structure your business to minimize your tax liability. A tax attorney can also represent you in court, if necessary.
As you can see, many different types of lawyers specialize in different areas of the law, so you can’t just hire one lawyer for everything. It’s important to do your research to determine which type of lawyer you’ll need for your situation. Also, some areas of law have subspecialties (i.e. family law and personal injury), so it’s important to find the right lawyer for your specific situation.