Law has a variety of specializations, and it is important to know what law degree to get in order to become an amazing attorney who is passionate about their concentration.
Before deciding, it is important to research different areas of law and potential career paths within that specialization. Sometimes, even taking a self-assessment can help with decision-making when you are thinking what law degree should I get?
Below are some examples of specializations and how to get into each law career.
Social Security Disability Attorney
A social security disability attorney represents clients wanting to claim disability benefits. Typically, this means helping them win a claim for disability insurance coverage for supplemental security income (SSI). SSI provides payments to those with disabilities and low financial resources. People eligible for social security benefits must prove that they cannot work because of their condition and that it is expected to last more than a year.
A disability lawyer can typically expect to have a lot of potential clients, especially the elderly. With this specialization, a lawyer can expect to be busy year-round. There is never a shortage of clients in this area.
People can apply for social security benefits on their own, but many are turned down. Having representation from an attorney greatly benefits the client. With someone to represent them, like an SSI lawyer, it is a higher likelihood that they will receive those benefits.
If this sounds like something that you aren’t interested in, and you are still thinking what law degree should I get, look into Order of Protection.
Order of Protection Attorney
An order of protecion attorney typically helps with domestic violence cases. Survivors of domestic violence can file various types of civil and criminal protection or restraining orders to protect themselves from further abuse. There are a few types, including an emergency protection order and a permanent protection order.
Emergency protection orders are put in place for a short term and are given by the police when the abuser is arrested. While the emergency order is in place, the victim can request a longer-term protection order.
Those who are experiencing a variety of abuse can request an order of protection. This can be related to physical abuse, but it does not necessarily have to be physical abuse. This can include stalking, harassment, and threats of violence.
Those that have suffered domestic violence can file for a domestic violence order of protection that has more specific information on what the abuser is and isn’t allowed to do. This would mean that the person has no contact or has limited contact for specific purposes, or this may mean that the abuser is required to stay away or even that they aren’t allowed to have firearms during the time of the restraining order.
Lawyers that handle this sort of law typically have a focus on criminal defense or family law. Family law has a focus on family and domestic relations. Criminal defense law focuses on defending people in criminal cases. Both of which will go into further detail below.
Family Law Lawyer
Family law focuses on all laws related to the family. Lawyers in this specialization will help their clients with divorce, custody of children, and domestic violence. In addition to some of those situations that are not ideal, family lawyers also help with adoption and surrogacy.
While working in family law, the lawyer will provide for clients from children to adults in various situations. These cases can be very emotional, so it is important to be sensitive to a variety of topics.
Divorce cases may focus on assets, children, and even mental health. In some of the divorce cases, it is important to note neglect and mental abuse in these cases as well. It is important to have an advocate here to protect the rights as well as the rights of the children if it applies. Divorce can be approved under fault or no fault. In a no-fault divorce, neither person involved has placed blame on the other for the divorce. Divorce that is based on fault may include reasons like cheating, mental abuse, crime, or more. There are many reasons why someone may want a divorce at the fault of their partner.
Family lawyers may also focus on children. There may be adoption cases where it is important to have an advocate, whether it is as a birth parent or as a potential adoptive parent. A family lawyer can also be helpful for children after they have grown up and have decided they want to reach out to their birth parents.
Estate and Trust Administration Lawyer
Estate lawyers can help with estate planning. They can help with trusts and wills. They help with putting together and implementing legal documents. They will make sure that the estate is protected after death or incapacitation. Having an estate lawyer will also help in making sure that belongings and land are handled as well.
Estate lawyers help businesses as well as individual people. They help with all money and property owned by the person or business. They may also be referred to as probate lawyers in some cases. Not only will these lawyers ensure that the property is protected, but they focus on distributing the assets and helping to execute the will.
Though there is some overlap between an estate lawyer and a probate lawyer, there are some cases where they will assist with different tasks. Probate lawyers typically work after the death of a person, while estate lawyers will have living clients to establish the things that will be necessary after their death.
If a person passes and there is no will, state laws determine where their property and money go. If that ends up not working how a family member wants, they can then get in contact with a probate lawyer, who can help them become an estate administrator.
In some cases, an estate and trust administration lawyer may find themselves in the middle of a payment issue for a funeral. They can help to set up a payment plan or other various options as the executor of the estate.
Criminal Defense Lawyer
Criminal defense lawyers focus on defending individuals that are charged with a crime. Defense lawyers will help with arrest, investigation, charges, sentencing, and more. There are many niches within criminal defense, like DUI attorneys, which will be explained in further detail below. Criminal lawyers can handle drug crimes, violent crimes, domestic violence, fraud, and a variety of other crimes.
People may request a lawyer even before charges are filed because they believe they are being investigated. Some may also be appointed a lawyer by the government, who are called public defenders. A lot of times, a criminal defense lawyer is requested after an arrest.
A criminal defense lawyer should have a great understanding of the Constitution. Information obtained that violates specific amendments can be excluded during the trial. Preparation for trials can include looking at a crime scene, speaking with witnesses, and coming up with a strategy for the trial.
It is also important to know the types of charges and which are most common in criminal defense. It is most common to defend people with misdemeanor and felony charges. A misdemeanor charge can have up to one year of jail time and anything over one year would likely be a felony charge. This is one of the more common specializations in law. This type is most often represented on television. Many people recall times of people pleading for the fifth amendment, the right to not self-incriminate, which comes from this representation in the media.
Business law is sometimes referred to as commercial law and corporate law. This specialization focuses on the rights of a person or business. A business lawyer can be needed at any point during the life of a business.
A business lawyer can be around during the start of the business to help with setting up an LLC or any other way to ensure that the client has ownership of the business they are running. Business lawyers can help with contracts and ensure that the papers are correct for properties as well.
Business lawyers can work in a firm but are more likely to have a position working in the business they represent.
Business law can also include banking law. These lawyers focus on legal support for financial institutions. They work on contracts and other financial issues. A banking lawyer can work for a firm or can have a position in-house at the bank they represent as well. It is also important to get acquainted with securities and sales as two focuses within business law.
As a business lawyer, most of the work will be within an office working with contracts, writing, and negotiating.
DUI Attorneys are typically criminal defense attorneys with a focus on DUI offenses. These cases can be related to alcohol or drugs, even recreational drugs that are prescribed. States vary on the verbiage used, whether it is operating or driving a motor vehicle. It is important to know the difference between the terms based on the state that the person is being charged in.
An attorney in a DUI case is very helpful. They can help save a driver’s license from being suspended or get the charge reduced. As someone who has received a charge, having an attorney with DUI case experience, they will be able to minimize consequences as much as possible.
Without a lawyer, there are plenty of consequences that could have been avoided, including losing a driving license and losing a job.
DUI Attorneys handle the negotiation and keep up with deadlines for paperwork. In many cases, they may try to come up with a solution that does not include jail time. In many cases of an first-time DUI, there will not be as serious consequences, especially if there are no prior related offenses.
Green Card Lawyer
Immigration lawyers, or green card lawyers, focus on the immigration process. The process is very long and can be hard or confusing for anyone unfamiliar. This is why having an immigration lawyer can help in the process. There are several steps and stages in the process.
There are two types of visas, one immigrant and one non-immigrant. With an immigrant visa, the person is able to receive a green card upon entry that shows the resident status. With a green card lawyer, the information can be handled by a professional who may have experience of doing so for years. Any mistakes that an everyday person may make would get caught before turning in all of the paperwork. In the process, if any information is incorrect, the application may be denied.
This process is stressful and having someone to aid in the process can alleviate some of that stress. There are a few different ways to potentially get a green card. Having a family member in the country can help because they are able to help as a sponsor. There are also options like someone fleeing from violence.
Those interested in applying for a green card for marriage can be helpful as the partner from that country. It is not necessary or required, but can be helpful in having an extra set of eyes on the paperwork and required forms.
An interview is also a necessary part of the process and a lawyer can help with preparation for that meeting.
There are so many options when it comes to lawyer specializations, so when thinking about “what law degree should I get,” it is important to keep them all in mind. Each person can have a strong passion for various types of law.It is important to research on each type and find out what is best for you.