Law is one of the most complicated subjects there is. No one is expected to know everything there is to know about their legal rights and responsibilities. Most people will need to work with a lawyer at least once in their lives. If you need legal advice or support, you should always know who to call. If you aren’t sure which legal professional will best suit your needs, use this guide to learn more about who to call in each situation.
When Do I Need to Contact Professional Help?
Many people are hesitant to get an attorney involved; however, it is often a necessity. There are some situations, having a professional by your side can be a huge asset. Some common examples include arrests and car accidents. Other instances may not seem as obvious, such as filing for divorce, having a minor injury, or writing a will.
If you are on the fence about hiring a legal professional, you should assess the situation. You need to recognize your legal responsibilities and rights. Even if the situation seems simple, it is often better to ask for legal advice as early as possible.
Most legal professionals will offer you a consultation. During a consultation, you will be able to tell the lawyer some of the details about your specific situation. Every case is a little bit different, but they will be able to explain your next steps, legal obligations, and any rights you may have.
What Kinds of Different Legal Professionals are There?
When people think of legal professionals, they tend to think of general practice lawyers, who don’t usually specialize in a single area of law. Instead, they tackle a wide range of legal issues and connect their clients with other specialists as needed. Both individuals and businesses may hire general practice attorneys to help them with routine legal matters. If you are anticipating or involved in a lawsuit, you may need a civil litigation specialist to help you settle the matter with the other party. If your business is involved in a lawsuit, you may need a commercial litigation or corporate specialist.
Personal injury lawyers are involved whenever someone claims to have an injury. If you are in a car accident, slip and fall in the grocery store, or get hurt at home, you will likely call one of these legal professionals. Their primary focus will be on helping you get medical attention to treat the injury and negotiating any claims with the other parties involved. If your injury was the result of a doctor’s mistake, you may need to work with a medical malpractice specialist.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, you will likely need a criminal lawyer to help you with your case. While many defendants are represented by court-appointed attorneys, you have the right to be represented by the professional you want. These legal professionals specialize in this area and can help guide you through bail, pleas, wrongful conviction, going to court, and other related issues.
Family lawyers help with several different domestic issues surrounding marriage. They can help you draft a prenuptial agreement, assist in divorce proceedings, or negotiate child custody or support. These legal professionals often assist with adoption cases.
There are several financial situations that you may need a professional to handle. Some common examples are estate planning and bankruptcy. An estate planning specialist helps you to establish or manage wills and trusts. A bankruptcy specialist works with people facing financial hardships and helps to file any bankruptcy proceedings.
Taxes are an incredibly complicated subject and both individuals and businesses often need assistance navigating tax law. A tax attorney will have an excellent understanding of local, state, and federal tax laws. If you need to understand your tax liability or need help solving a complex tax issue, you would work with one of these specialists.
Immigration specialists help people obtain citizenship. They often work with people moving to the United States, people seeking asylum, or people who need help obtaining a visa or green card. You may also consult a legal professional if you are considering moving or working in another country.
Employers have several legal responsibilities and obligations to their employees. There are several reasons why an employer or an employee may seek legal advice. Employment lawyers will have a strong understanding of local, state, and federal laws and regulations. Their job is to help with employment contract breeches, workplace safety, discrimination disputes, and more. If you had an accident in the workplace and are seeking compensation, you may want to consider a worker’s compensation specialist.
Some legal professionals specialize in writing, handling, managing, and disputing contracts. Even if you have already signed a contract, you may want to work with a legal professional to better understand your responsibilities and rights. A contract lawyer will help you resolve any issues you may have with a particular contract.
If your contract involves something you created, you may need to work with an intellectual property specialist. IP specialists help to resolve issues involving copyrights, designs, trade secrets, trademarks, and patents.
There are also attorneys who specialize in helping in very specific situations. Social security disability specialists are a great example. These specialists work with people to help them navigate the social security system, resolve eligibility issues, and obtain benefits.
How Do I Find Out What Kind of Legal Professional I Need?
Because there are several types of attorneys, many people feel overwhelmed when making a decision on who to hire. Some people also feel like their case falls into multiple categories, making it harder for them to choose representation.
If you are having trouble deciding, you could:
- Ask family or friends who aren’t involved in the case for input.
- Contact a local general practice.
- Use a referral service.
- Conduct online research on local legal professionals and your specific situation.