Ever since humans began congregating to form societies, there’s always been a need to follow the law. Conflict brews when a society of individuals with personal self-interests lacks guiding rules. Today, almost every nation-state is guided by a constitution, a set of rules that guide the overall actions of citizens and institutions in a nation-state. We refer to these rules and guidelines when we talk about ‘the law of the land.’
A lawyer is any person who has formally studied the law, whether they’re practicing or not. In the United States, lawyers must pass a bar exam to qualify to represent anyone in a court of law. A lawyer who can represent you in a court of law is called an attorney, and if you’re interested in pursuing a career in law, you should know right off the bat that this is a ‘people-person career.’ That being said, the law in this land is diverse. Let’s look at the various areas of specialization one can choose when seeking a law practitioners degree and how it resonates with you.
According to Forbes, an accident attorney, or more accurately, a car accident attorney, is a type of personal injury attorney. Personal injury attorneys immerse themselves in the study of tort law. Specifically, accident attorneys specialize in traffic law, vehicle insurance policies, and tort law regarding car accidents.
A law practitioners degree in this area will equip you with the skills required to investigate accident scenes, study police, and medical reports, build an incident case demonstrating the party or parties at fault, compile and negotiate compensation claims, and, if needed, represent clients in court.
There were 42,939 deaths caused by car crashes in the U.S. in 2021. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the economic cost of this vast loss is about $340 billion. What this means is that there’s a high demand for accident attorneys.
As an accident attorney, you must be sensitive, compassionate, and considerate to thrive in this space. Having a general interest in vehicles is a great advantage in this practice.
Criminal attorneys represent clients facing criminal charges. The criminal attorney’s role is to ensure their clients’ basic rights and liberties are upheld throughout the legal process. A public defender is a state-sponsored criminal attorney appointed by the courts to represent clients who cannot afford legal fees.
Another way you can practice criminal law after acquiring a law practitioners degree is to go private. Private criminal attorneys represent clients who can pay legal fees for their services. A criminal attorney must be well-versed in criminal law and the related processes, such as settlements, pleas, and arraignments.
A client facing criminal charges expects their attorneys to get the best outcome in a criminal case. Criminal attorneys, therefore, work within the law and its confines to find any advantage that can work for their clients. To get there, a criminal attorney must negotiate in case of a plea bargain, collect relevant evidence, interview relevant people, do diligent research to gain the upper hand and advise their client accordingly.
Criminal attorneys are among the busiest, largely due to the high crime rates in most states. However, the nature of a criminal case determines the number of court sessions a criminal lawyer is expected to attend. Before selecting a career in criminal law, ask yourself if you’d be willing to represent some of the worst criminals, such as serial killers. These are some of the cases that’ll knock on your door.
But don’t be scared or discouraged by criminal cases. Most lawyers agree that the best clients to represent are those charged under criminal law. They’re usually on their best behavior as the charges carry a steep penalty should a jury render a guilty verdict. So, most of them uphold the best conduct possible for the duration of the case.
If you’re passionate about human rights, liberties, and the well-being of fellow citizens and are interested in pursuing a law degree, criminal law is a great choice. This is especially critical in cases where innocent people find themselves in court under trumped-up charges. Nothing is as liberating to a lawyer as winning a case for an innocent person wrongly accused.
Bankruptcy attorneys represent clients going through bankruptcy. This may be an individual (consumer bankruptcy) or a corporation (commercial bankruptcy). Bankruptcy can be declared by any person or company unable to repay their debt.
If bankruptcy law is the law practitioners degree you’re interested in, you’ll need to brush up on your knowledge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. A bankruptcy attorney’s goal is to choose the best option for their clients or, if possible, an alternative to declaring bankruptcy, such as financial restructuring, valuation disputes, and plan confirmations. Bankruptcy lawyers also handle insolvency processes on behalf of their clients.
If you like clerical-related work, working with numbers, or better yet if you are an accountant pursuing a career in law, bankruptcy law is your best bet.
Personal Injury Attorney
A personal injury attorney typically represents accident victims. These include vehicle accidents, accidents at the workplace, accidents caused by a malfunctioning product, or medical malpractice. The burden of the attorney in these instances is to build a credible case against the accused party, demonstrating beyond reasonable doubt that they’re at fault.
Whether the accident was caused by negligence or was intentional doesn’t matter in a personal injury case. The attorney’s main goal is to ensure the victims are compensated.
A law practitioners degree in personal injury law entails the acquisition of knowledge for investigating claims, gathering relevant case evidence, negotiating with insurance firms, sending demand letters, preparing pleadings, conducting discovery, and, if necessary, representing their clients in court. You should be a passionate believer in helping people in distress and upholding dignity to pursue this law practitioners degree; otherwise, you’ll struggle.
Your client, as a will and trust attorney, is known as a testator, the name given to clients looking for legal services to write their will. The testator is the main determiner of what the will agreement will look like. A brief look into the steps taken to create such a document includes choosing an executor to carry out the testator’s wishes and determine how much control they’ll possess (power of attorney), listing debts to be paid before dividing anything, drawing up a list of possessions and belongings, and determining a residuary recipient.
In this case, a will and trust law practitioners degree is the perfect choice if you’re keen on providing services to testators. You’ll also be helping fill out all the paperwork correctly and ensure your clients are protected from fraudulent claims. Ideally, as a will and trust attorney, you should be passionate about family and property rights.
Byron Ricardo Batres defines probate as the legal process of validating a testator’s will. In cases where the deceased did not make any succession arrangements, Byron explains that the estate goes through probate as well. As a probate attorney, you’ll be representing a beneficiary, their representatives (beneficiary representative), or the property itself. A probate law practitioner degree allows you to collect proceeds from a life insurance cover, handle inheritance tax, help identify the entire estate, and manage the final distribution of the property and the estate’s checking accounts.
Being a probate attorney allows one to take a back seat in the succession process. If the client decides to do the rigorous paperwork themselves and distribute their estate, your role as a probate attorney will be advisory. Personal goals and interests that may indicate an inclination towards probate law include respect for family and property ownership rights, just like those of a will and trust attorney.
The work of an estate attorney lies between the role of a probate attorney and a will and trust attorney. In some cases, estate attorneys are relegated to the role of a probate attorney alone. Sometimes their names are used interchangeably. However, an estate attorney can perform the roles of a will and trust attorney, including creating a will or trust and rendering probate services.
If you have a warm personality, love family cohesion, and value property ownership rights, this could be what you’re looking for.
The law practitioners degree that’ll bestow upon you the title of a divorce attorney is family law. In divorce cases, attorneys must divide the debts and property between the spouses. They go on to define the terms ‘child custody’ and ‘child support’ and also oversee the separation process through legal representation.
With nearly 50% of first-time marriages in the United States ending up in divorce, 60% of these, according to Divorce.com, coming from young couples aged 20 to 25 years, you’ll have no problem getting clients as a divorce attorney. However, many contend that divorce clients are among the most difficult. The argument goes that clients in a divorce case often show up with their worst side. To be a successful divorce attorney, the most valuable trait is patience, or you’ll be at your wit’s end with most clients.
A debt relief lawyer specializes in helping clients properly manage their debt. The skills acquired in attaining this law practitioners degree are, among others, vast knowledge of debt collector information and relevant negotiation skills. You’ll also be dealing with intimidatory tendencies debt collectors may employ against your client, and be vigilant against inappropriate behavior by debt collectors. Other duties you’ll likely handle include debt repayment paperwork and representing a client in court whenever necessary.
Debt relief lawyers, as the name suggests, come as a relief to individuals or businesses drowning in debt. Clients are usually worn down and ready to follow any path you chart to get them out of their current predicament. In return, a good debt relief lawyer will gracefully pull their client out of debt while retaining or cementing the relationships with their creditors.
Personal qualities that resonate well in this area of legal practice are tact and charisma. Also, if you’re very good at numbers, a law practitioners degree in debt relief law may be the propelling course to your dream career.
As defined by Hanna Kieler, a real estate lawyer is a law practitioner licensed to practice real estate law. Such a law practitioners degree qualifies a lawyer to handle the legal side of property sales or purchase transactions and conduct short sales. Home buyers also need legal services just as the sellers do. It’s good to get your client a good short sale. These are houses going for less than their outstanding mortgage. When a homeowner is no longer able to finance their house mortgage, they can employ the services of a real estate lawyer to strike an agreement with the relevant lender to short-sell the property. Typical real estate lawyer clients include homeowners selling their houses, individuals wanting to buy a house, and lenders or title companies.
Real estate law seems like a career choice someone with a natural leaning towards business, in general, would enjoy.
Like a doctor, your clients as a lawyer will call on you at the most inappropriate times, and they’re either in a crisis or trying to avoid one. And like a doctor, a lawyer always guards his clients’ confidence. Even if your client is a hardcore criminal, such as a serial killer, your duty as a criminal attorney is to your client. These are some of the intricacies of law you need to consider before choosing a career in law. Once you do, your obligation as a lawyer is primarily to your client.
Your temperament and personal beliefs are critical when choosing which law practitioners degree to pursue. If you’re impatient and easily offended, you may not want to be a divorce attorney, as clients in this category are considered some of the most difficult. If you’re passionate about human rights and the protection of personal property, a career in debt relief, bankruptcy, or estate attorney is a great fit, or one in criminal law where you’re likely to encounter clients framed for crimes they didn’t commit. At the end of the day, the law practitioners degree you choose to study entirely depends on you.