“What do I need a lawyer for?” This is one of the most common questions young and inexperienced lawyers face when first starting out practicing law. The answer, of course, is that you need a lawyer for any purpose. A lawyer can practice in more than one area of the law, but the more areas a lawyer focuses his or her practice in, the more successful that lawyer will be.
Most successful lawyers only focus on one area of the law. Criminal law and the study of criminal law are always an ever-changing entity, which can quickly spark interest in just about anyone. Likewise, civil rights and the study of civil law are also ever-evolving areas of the law. Lawyers who specialize in more than one area of the law, therefore, have an added edge over other lawyers and their contemporaries.
Some areas of civil rights and immigration law are particularly diverse and complex, and this requires lawyers who have strong backgrounds in a number of different practice areas. Immigration lawyers must be knowledgeable about the immigration laws of various countries and must be capable of assisting their clients in determining the status (or potential status) of their visa applications. Civil rights attorneys must also be familiar with local laws (as well as federal laws) that protect the individual in question, and this includes issues such as discrimination and harassment on the basis of the client’s immigration status or national origin. Therefore, while every lawyer has general experience in criminal law and immigration, there will be an added dimension of depth to a human rights attorney’s practice when they also focus their efforts in these additional areas.
How about in the case of corporate law? Again, the term “corporation” covers a wide array of entities, some of which are not human-made and therefore cannot be considered as “real” businesses. Nevertheless, many lawyers have successfully represented corporations, despite the fact that they do not have any employees of their own and operate solely as a company within the state.
Does a lawyer specialize in contract law? It is true that contract law deals exclusively with the formulation of specific legal agreements between disinterested parties, and that many lawyers are specifically trained to deal with contract cases. However, some specialize in another area entirely: international trade law. The reason is that trade is a very broad area of law, and although each country decides how the law will apply to its domestic industry, the eventual destination of goods – both manufactured and supplied by the other countries – can have a profound effect on the treatment of foreign companies.
What about practicing in more than one state? Many lawyers are so politically motivated that they tend to support only candidates who are keen to restrict the rights of business owners in their home state, but then vote with their feet wherever they are able to so that they can advance their career. This means that many lawyers are not particularly conscientious about practicing in more than one state, and in this respect their voting record does not always reflect that. Nevertheless, it is often seen that when a lawyer is asked why they are not putting their full effort into representing clients in more than one state and answering that they are “too busy” to do so, is perhaps an accurate reflection of how they see their role in the practice.
Can a lawyer to specialize in more than one area of the law? Although this is impossible, there are a number of ways in which a lawyer could be “more than one lawyer”. For example, there are firms for just about every niche imaginable, from real estate to inventions to manufacturing. In order to run such a business, it would take a building or warehouse to be a “firm”, and then every firm needs an attorney to deal with the legal issues associated with running that business. Therefore, the lawyer could be described as a “firm specialist” rather than a “specialist” in any particular area.
Is there such a thing as a niche for lawyers? It is sometimes possible to think of a niche as a legal area in which an attorney excels, for example aesthetic enhancements to a home or unique gifts that someone might offer as a token of love. In other cases, it is less easy to imagine a niche because there are so many attorneys practicing in virtually every area of the law. Nonetheless, there may be occasions when a lawyer can be described as a specialist in a particular area, and in those circumstances, there may be some value in pursuing an appointment.