The Study of Law and Specialties of Lawyers

Lawyers tend to choose specialty areas based on their interests and expertise. For example, someone who worked in business or studied economics may want to go into contract law . A scientist or science major may specialize in patent law, helping inventors obtain patents on their work. Specific experience is not always necessary, but having some prior knowledge helps. Let’s take a look at the legal definitions of some specialties.

Contract law governs oral and written agreements between parties about the exchange of goods, property or cash. This could happen in almost any life situation, but it pops up most often in business. So, a contract lawyer will work with a company’s president, board members or other officers. Often, their dispute is with another company over the exact terms of an agreement. Company A may believe it ordered 12 widgets from Company B to be delivered by Friday, but Company B thinks it was 14 widgets by Saturday. See Matthew N Miller for more information about contract law in Ohio.

Lawyers on both sides will try to negotiate an agreement or settlement on the widgets, but if they can’t it they go to court where a judge decides if there is a contract. If there is, he will look at both the facts and the law and then decide how the contract will be fulfilled.

contract lawContract lawyers also represent individuals who may have a disagreement with a contractor such a bricklayer on how a patio should be built. These types of contracts often are written or oral. Just like with the businessmen, the lawyer will help negotiate an agreement, or the matter will go to court where a judge or jury will examine the evidence and decide.

Estate law affects almost everyone at some time in their lives whether they are writing their wills or receiving items from a deceased relative. This legal area covers what happens to someone’s possessions when they die. An estate lawyer might help a client draw up a will or a trust that distributes their possessions, real estate and money to their heirs when they pass away. Upon a person’s death, the estate attorney will probate their estate. The attorney will make sure everything is distributed according to the decedent’s will or trust. Some things, including items in a trust, can be turned over immediately to families and friends. Others have to go through the probate court where the judge rules on how things will be distributed.
criminal lawA lawyer who practices criminal law helps people charged with crimes through the court system. The lawyer negotiates with the prosecutor over whether his client will plead guilty or go to trial. It is the attorney’s job to examine the evidence and the law that governs the situation, before advising his client. The stakes are high because the consequences are that his client may go to jail or at least pay a large fine. Few criminal cases actually go to trial, but when they do the lawyer has to be at the top of his game ready to give opening and closing statements and present and cross-examine witnesses.

bankruptcy lawBankruptcy law is designed to protect with overwhelming debt. An attorney in this specialty first helps a client determine if they really need bankruptcy, which will cancel most of their debt and help them determine a way to pay secured debts such as a mortgage or a car loan. If the client wants to go ahead, the lawyer will prepare all the specialized documents needed. Once it is filed, he will accompany his client to all hearings including the initial meeting with a bankruptcy trustee who will ask them about all their money and possessions. There may or may not be more hearings before the bankruptcy is finalized, and the client’s debts are wiped clean.

For injured people, personal injury law is a method to seek compensation for costs and pain associated with their injuries. During their first meeting, the personal injury lawyer will go over the client’s memories and gather their documentation of hospital and doctor bills. Next, the attorney will negotiate either with the person who caused the accident or their insurance company.

Again, if they can come to a settlement the case ends, but, if not, all the parties will appear in court for a trial. There, the client’s lawyer presents all the necessary evidence and testimony and asks the judge or jury to award damages to the injured party. Damages for costs will cover all the bills, but often the attorney will ask for more to compensate his client for pain and suffering.

Whatever their specialty, the lawyer’s main responsibility is to represent his client well. How he goes about that may depend on the type of law that covers his client’s situation.