14 Types of Lawyers (With Responsibilities and Salaries)
Updated 17 December 2022
There are many types of lawyers with various specialisations and job responsibilities. Lawyers may work in trial law or many other types of litigation, including pre-trial and negotiation processes. Learning about several types of lawyers may help you decide if any type particularly interests you. In this article, we discuss 14 types of law-related professions you can pursue, providing a description of their duties and average salaries.
14 types of lawyers
The following list reviews different types of lawyers and other law-related careers, their responsibilities and salary expectations:
National average salary: $71,481 per year
Primary duties: A litigation paralegal is responsible for helping trial attorneys prepare for courtroom proceedings. They draft documents, complete administrative tasks, interview witnesses and conduct additional research ahead of the trial. They may also assist with researching and gathering facts. They often have strong communication skills, are detail-oriented and organised and demonstrate keen investigative skills. Litigation paralegals cannot practise law on their own, but this profession provides extensive experience working in and out of courtrooms with clients, witnesses and lawyers.
National average salary: $75,886 per year
Primary duties: Immigration lawyers may assist individuals with any type of immigration-related case, ranging from family reunification to obtaining a residence based on employment or humanitarian reasons. For example, immigration lawyers may help clients who are having trouble obtaining green cards, visas or citizenship documentation. They can also assist when there are issues with a client's current documentation or in a situation where an individual is seeking asylum from another country. They have extensive knowledge of international immigration law and trial processes.
National average salary: $93,711 per year
Primary duties: An intellectual property paralegal is responsible for helping an individual client or company on issues related to intellectual property rights and trademarks. They can consult with a client who believes someone has used their intellectual property without obtaining proper copyrights, or they can help someone who wants to use the intellectual property or trademark belonging to a company. They also maintain a client's books and records, help complete financial records and create supporting documents such as contracts and lease agreements. Intellectual property paralegals often maintain a well-rounded skill set that includes research, writing, communication and organisational skills.
National average salary: $100,000 per year
Primary duties: A trademark paralegal works for a trademark attorney and is responsible for helping clients file claims for names and logos. They are responsible for assisting trademark attorneys in the creation of courtroom cases against an individual or company who stole a trademark from their client. Additionally, they assist a trademark attorney in creating advertisements to protect the client's name. They also research and complete tasks related to trademarks including creating brochures, helping clients with their marketing materials, filing paperwork and researching the trademark laws.
National average salary: $110,063 per year
Primary duties: A family lawyer can be employed to help clients in several family-related matters. They are involved in defending a client in divorce proceedings, child custody battles or child support claims. Additionally, they are involved in custody and adoption cases, family law matters involving abuse and neglect and other issues as necessary. They also complete tasks related to estate planning, wills, probate and trust administration.
National average salary: $114,062 per year
Primary duties: A personal injury lawyer is responsible for helping clients who have sustained injuries, whether it be through a car accident or an injury acquired on a company's property. They plead their case to help a client get compensation for their injury. Additionally, they may help a client file a lawsuit against an individual or company for tortious interference. Their duties involve filing motions, collecting and evaluating evidence, conducting interviews and attending hearings.
National average salary: $117,146 per year
Primary duties: An associate general counsel is a type of lawyer who represents an individual client or organisation in court, advises them on potential legal actions that could result from malpractice and works with a team, usually through a law firm, to build a strong case that they can use to represent a client in the courtroom. They also work with the firm's other general counsel to help with administrative issues and adviser roles. Associate general counsel may also handle discovery in arbitration proceedings, communicate with clients and maintain a client's case file.
National average salary: $121,477 per year
Primary duties: A corporate lawyer works for a company, advising executives against business decisions that could lead to legal action and representing the company in when another party files legal action against them. They are also responsible for using their expertise to create and edit corporate contracts to ensure they are not breaking any laws. Additionally, they're responsible for assisting with creating corporate policies and procedures.
National average salary: $127,408 per year
Primary duties: An associate attorney is an entry-level role, usually employed at law firms. They help select juries, represent clients in court, help clients negotiate contracts or settle corporate disputes. They may also gather and prepare evidence and documentation related to corporate disputes, assist in preparing documents and pleadings, draft agreements and attend depositions. They may assist with maintaining a client's case file, helping the firm's partners with administrative tasks, assisting the firm's associates or other tasks assigned by the firm's partners. Associate attorneys can practise different types of law, including corporate, real estate, family and copyright cases.
National average salary: $132,974 per year
Primary duties: An employment lawyer is responsible for helping a company that's having trouble with an employee or helping an employee who is having trouble with their company. They're usually called upon to help settle disputes in employee contracts or defend a client who accuses their company of maltreatment. They can also assist with non-compete agreements, wage and hour issues, severance payments and any other contracts related to a person's employment.
An employment lawyer may also oversee the employee handbook for the company or organisation for which they work. Some of their additional tasks include providing advice regarding liability issues involving employees, helping make sure employees understand what their rights are as an employee and ensuring that all employees adhere to applicable laws.
11. Public defender
National average salary: $135,131 per year
Primary duties: Public defenders are responsible for helping clients with certain legal cases who are too busy or unable to represent themselves in court. They typically have cases in which they represent clients who are unable to afford a lawyer. Public defenders also help individuals who face felony charges and people who are facing misdemeanours. They attend court regularly to keep abreast of the trial process, helping attorneys prepare the case for trial and assisting with research before or during trials.
12. Contracts lawyer
National average salary: $135,161 per year
Primary duties: A contracts lawyer helps individual clients or businesses with problems relating to contracts. They provide advice from a legal standpoint on whether to agree to and sign a contract. They can also help a client figure out how to combat a contract that they already signed. They may help clients with creating contracts, making sure they follow all laws pertaining to contracts and can help defend the client if someone sues them because of their contract.
National average salary: $148,898 per year
Primary duties: A corporate attorney works on behalf of a company, advising executives on the best practices to implement within the company to prevent legal trouble. They might help create documents, file reports and read through employee handbooks to make sure there are clear guidelines in place. A corporate attorney can also represent a company in the courtroom. Additionally, a corporate attorney may help write, review or revise a company's policies and procedures for software, data or any other aspect of the company.
National average salary: $188,138 per year
Primary duties: A litigation attorney or lawyer is responsible for helping in civil lawsuits, either on the side of the defendant or the plaintiff party. Their job is to guide their client through pre-, peri- and post-trial events, defending their case, setting plea deals or arranging appeals. They may also defend clients from being sued, such as defending a company from being sued after an accident. Additionally, a litigation attorney may work with the other attorneys at their firm and the firm's lawyers in other countries to resolve disputes.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.
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