Understanding the Different Types of Law: A Comprehensive Guide

types of law

Getting into law school is difficult on its own. One of the challenging decisions you will encounter is selecting from the various fields of specialization. From criminal to civil and everything in between, lawyers are experts in their field. Every field of law has its distinct set of regulations and guidelines that determine the approach to handling cases and the resulting possible consequences. We will provide you with a comprehensive guide to the different types of law so you have a better understanding of what they entail. Hopefully, we can help you with making your decision on what to specialize in when you start your studies.

Types of Law

Our list is not comprehensive and there are many other areas of law not included, but we will cover the most common ones. Every category of law is accompanied by a unique set of regulations and guidelines that control a particular facet of the community. For instance, the realm of criminal law deals with unlawful acts, whereas civil law concerns disputes that arise between individuals or corporations. On the other hand, family law tackles concerns like matrimony, separation, and guardianship of children. Let’s get started, shall we?

Corporate Law

Corporate law deals with the legal aspects of businesses and corporations. It covers a broad range of issues, from corporate governance to mergers and acquisitions, as well as securities law. Corporate lawyers work to advise businesses on these legal matters and ensure they comply with regulations. In addition to providing guidance, corporate lawyers may also represent companies in court or negotiate contracts on their behalf.

Criminal Law

Criminal law deals with offenses or crimes against society. It can include a wide range of offenses, from minor misdemeanors to serious felonies, such as theft, assault, and murder. The penalties for criminal convictions can be severe, ranging from fines to imprisonment. Criminal lawyers are responsible for representing their clients in court and ensuring that their rights are protected throughout the legal process. The field is constantly evolving with changes in society and technology, so it is essential for criminal lawyers to stay up-to-date on these developments to effectively represent their clients.

Family Law

Family law encompasses a broad range of topics, such as divorce, child custody, and adoption. Navigating legal issues related to family relationships can be emotionally draining and difficult. During these challenging times, a family law attorney can provide much-needed guidance and support to help individuals make informed decisions about their future. A family law attorney can represent clients in court proceedings or work with them to negotiate amicable settlements outside the courtroom. They can also provide legal advice on matters like prenuptial agreements, paternity disputes, and domestic violence.

Health Law

Health law is a complex area that covers many aspects of the healthcare industry. Lawyers who specialize in this area aim to safeguard both patients and healthcare providers. One of the primary concerns of health law is medical ethics. It deals with issues such as informed consent, confidentiality, and end-of-life care. Lawyers specializing in this area also handle cases related to patient safety, such as medical errors, misdiagnosis, and medication errors. Healthcare providers also seek legal counsel for issues like licensing and credentialing, employment contracts, and insurance coverage disputes.

Immigration Law

Immigration law is a constantly changing field that governs the legal status of individuals entering or leaving a country. Recent changes in global immigration policies have brought about many challenges for immigrants and their families. Lawyers specializing in immigration law can help individuals with obtaining visas, work permits, green cards, and citizenship. Immigration lawyers also assist businesses with hiring foreign workers and complying with immigration laws.

Bankruptcy Law

Bankruptcy lawyers can also help clients determine the most appropriate type of bankruptcy to file for based on their unique circumstances. Additionally, they can assist in preparing and filing necessary documents and represent clients in court proceedings.

Intellectual Property Law

In a fast-paced and technology-driven world, protecting intellectual property is crucial. Lawyers specializing in intellectual Property Law help their clients safeguard their ideas from being copied or stolen. Patents, trademarks, and copyrights protect individuals’ intellectual property rights and prevent others from profiting from their work.

Employment Law

Employment law governs the employer-employee relationship and is complex and ever-evolving. Employment contracts are often confusing and contain legal jargon and complicated clauses. Lawyers specializing in employment law can help individuals understand their rights and responsibilities as an employee or employer. They can also assist with issues relating to discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, and wage disputes.

Personal Injury Law

When someone suffers an injury due to the negligence of another party, it can lead to a wide range of physical, emotional, and financial challenges. Personal injury law aims to provide victims with compensation for their losses and help them get back on their feet. Whether it’s a car accident or medical malpractice, a personal injury lawyer can help their client navigate the legal system and fight for their rights.

Real Estate Law

Real estate law governs the legal aspects of property ownership, use, and transfer. It encompasses a wide range of legal issues such as zoning laws, property taxes, landlord-tenant disputes, and title disputes. Lawyers in this type of law provide guidance and support in negotiating contracts, resolving disputes, and ensuring compliance with local and state regulations.

Animal Law

Animal law is an emerging area of law that deals with the legal problems faced by animals. It encompasses a broad range of issues related to animal welfare, including laws related to pet ownership, animal testing, and wildlife conservation. With increased awareness about the need for animal rights protection, there has been a growing demand for lawyers specializing in animal law. These lawyers may work with animal advocacy groups or government agencies focused on animal protection.

Civil Rights Law

Protecting individual rights and liberties is the foundation of Civil Rights Law. Discrimination, police brutality, voting rights, and freedom of speech are just a few examples of issues that fall under this umbrella. Civil Rights attorneys fight for justice and equity for marginalized communities by working towards protecting their fundamental rights. It takes extensive knowledge of constitutional law and civil procedure to understand the complexities of these cases. A career in Civil Rights Law can be rewarding as it is a powerful tool for promoting social justice and protecting individual freedoms.

Environmental & Natural Resources Law

Environmental & Natural Resources Law deals with regulations related to air, water, land use, and wildlife protection. This area of law is crucial for safeguarding our planet’s natural resources and ensuring that future generations can enjoy them too. Lawyers specializing in this field aim to balance the economic interests of businesses and individuals with the need to preserve the environment. Career opportunities include working for law firms specializing in environmental law or government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency. With the increasing emphasis on sustainability, Environmental & Natural Resources Law is becoming more critical than ever before.

Deciding on your specialization: When is the right time?

As a general rule, law students in the United States typically declare their specialization during their second or third year of law school, after they have completed their core courses in areas such as contracts, criminal law, civil procedure, and constitutional law. Start exploring different areas of law during your first year. Take a variety of courses and participate in extracurricular activities related to the fields you’re interested in. This will give you a better understanding of what each area of law entails and help you make an informed decision when choosing your specialization.


Understanding the different types of law can be overwhelming but is essential for anyone thinking about pursuing a law degree. It’s important to take the time to explore different areas of law and determine which one aligns with your interests and career goals. Remember to keep an open mind and stay curious as you begin your journey toward becoming a lawyer. If you’re unsure about whether to pursue a law degree or need assistance with your law school applications, reach out to us for a free consultation!