What Is an Attorney?

June 20, 2021 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
What Is an Attorney? An attorney is a legal professional; someone qualified to practice law, provide legal advice, or represent clients in legal issues. The term attorney, often used interchangeably with the term “lawyer” in the United States, indicates an individual or firm that can help assist you in managing complex legal issues.

Types of Attorneys

While attorneys all can practice law and provide legal advice, most attorneys and, in fact, most law firms choose to specialize in specific areas of law. Because of the extensive, and often exhaustive, list of laws that govern society, attorneys usually choose to focus on a specific area of law so that they can become experts in that area and provide their clients with the highest possible degree of expertise in that particular arena. This can range from how married couples legally manage the division of assets or child custody during a divorce to what rights the victim of a serious accident might have.

Personal Injury Lawyers

Personal injury lawyers handle cases in which an individual suffers serious injury due to the negligence of another party. Personal injury lawyers may deal with everything from medical malpractice claims to auto accidents. They can help clients understand their right to compensation, providing them with vital information about how much compensation they deserve and what type of settlement offer they should receive; investigate the claim to identify all parties that might share liability for the accident; and put together an effective claim that clearly displays how much compensation the victim deserves, often including a compelling argument that can help sway the liable party or insurance company in the injured person's favor.

What is an attorney

Criminal Defense Lawyers

Criminal lawyers aid individuals accused of crimes. They help look over the evidence related to the case and offer a clear assessment of what consequences their client should expect. They can help go over the evidence and argue that an innocent person did not commit the crime, or they can help minimize the consequences faced by someone with clear evidence to show that they committed a crime. Criminal lawyers can help negotiate plea deals or represent the accused in court if needed.

Employment Lawyers

Employees in all 50 states have specific rights related to their employment. While many states have at-will clauses that designate that an employer can fire an employee at any time for any reason, those states also have laws that state that the employer cannot discriminate against an employee. An employment agreement also represents a contractual arrangement between employee and employer, and an employer who withholds wages may face significant legal consequences. An employment lawyer can help employees facing wage withholding, discrimination, and other serious employment concerns.

Family Lawyers

Family lawyers may aid with everything from estate planning to divorce decrees. If you need to manage a complicated child custody battle or handle a legal dispute involving a will, a family lawyer can help you negotiate that situation and give you a better idea of your rights. Family lawyers can also help in managing divorces or help manage private adoptions.

Corporate Lawyers

Corporate lawyers help manage business contracts and ensure they come out to the benefit of the business they represent. They can help go over contracts and ensure that the business remains on the right side of the law, whether conducting negotiations or managing complicated issues. Corporate lawyers may also help manage legal disputes relating to the business, including potential injury claims or other claims against dangerous actions taken by the client.

Bankruptcy Lawyers

An individual navigating bankruptcy may benefit highly from a bankruptcy lawyer, who can help the client understand their rights related to bankruptcy. During the bankruptcy process, a lawyer can help their clients understand their legal rights, including what assets they can keep, how to manage payments, and what debt will not fall off during bankruptcy. Bankruptcy lawyers can also help negotiate agreements with debtors, especially when it comes to debts attached to assets that the client may want to retain.

Immigration Lawyers

Immigration lawyers help their clients navigate the immigration process. Immigrating into the United States can prove difficult, especially for individuals who may not know everything about the immigration process. An immigration lawyer can help guide their clients through that process and ensure that they remain on top of the process, which will include avoiding unnecessary fees, deportation, or criminal actions against them.

What Does a Lawyer Do?

A lawyer may perform these vital services for their client.

1. A lawyer can provide you with vital information regarding your legal rights.

Often, people do not understand the full extent of their rights as they enter into a legal challenge. For example, personal injury lawyers often find that people do not understand the full compensation they deserve because of the injuries they sustained in a serious accident. Often, people who do not fully understand their rights end up accepting low settlement offers from the insurance company, rather than fighting for the compensation they really deserve based on the injuries they suffered. An emergency room bill alone can send your costs skyrocketing. Add in the long-term treatment needed for many severe injuries, and you may end up struggling hard to deal with the medical bills as they start rolling in. Unfortunately, many people fail to take a look at the full extent of those bills even after insurance has paid for its percentage. Often, an attorney's perspective helps give the injured individual a full picture of the compensation they deserve for those injuries, which can prevent them from accepting that low settlement offer out of a lack of understanding of the legal process and the compensation they deserve.

2. A lawyer can investigate every element of a claim or case.

In personal injury law, an attorney can take a hard look at exactly what led to the injured party's accident. They aim to identify exactly who caused the accident, including what factors may have contributed to it. That may mean looking at numerous factors. Suppose, for example, that the injured individual suffered injuries in an accident with a pizza delivery driver. The delivery driver was on the clock at the time of the accident. They failed to yield to oncoming traffic, resulting in substantial injuries. The delivery driver could bear fault for the accident. Further investigation might even uncover that they had looked down at a handheld GPS device or phone as they searched for the delivery address, rather than looking at the traffic around them. Their insurance company, at that point, could pay out for the injuries suffered by the other driver. On deeper examination, however, the investigating attorney might uncover the fact that the liable driver worked for a company that insisted on very tight delivery times. If they took too long to get back to the restaurant, they might end up facing disciplinary action or even lose their job. Thus, the delivery driver often sped while driving. Their rate of speed at the time of the collision had climbed too high for the speed limit in that area at that time. Because the company's policies contributed to the accident, the company might also share liability for the driver's negligence. In some cases, drivers also share liability with their companies because an employer may, in general, bear responsibility for its drivers while on the clock. A lawyer can carefully examine every element of a case to help uncover all parties that may share liability for the accident and, therefore, for the liable party's injuries. Uncovering all liable parties serves two vital purposes in a personal injury claim. First, by identifying all liable parties associated with the accident, you can hold everyone who contributed to your injuries accountable for their actions. Second, you may increase the compensation you can receive for your injuries by uncovering more than one party that shares liability for them.

3. A lawyer can negotiate on your behalf.

If you suffered serious injuries due to another party's negligence, you will need to file a claim to seek the compensation you deserve. Often, that means working with an insurance company. If you suffer serious injuries in a car accident, for example, you may need to file a claim through the other driver's auto insurance company. If you suffer injuries in a premises liability accident, you may need to file through the business's property insurance. Individuals injured due to medical malpractice will have to deal with the doctor's medical malpractice insurance. Those insurance companies will often fight hard to minimize the compensation they have to pay out as much as possible. They have their own teams dedicated to protecting the company. Those teams will investigate the accident and look for reasons to prove that you may have caused or contributed to your injuries. They may try to prove that you do not deserve the compensation you claim, based on the idea that you did not suffer injuries as seriously as you initially indicated. Often, they will try to talk you into accepting a low settlement offer. You may find yourself under immense pressure to take those offers, especially as time goes by after the accident. Some insurance companies will even try to suggest that an offer might disappear if you do not accept it on the spot, even if it does not represent the compensation you really deserve. A lawyer can take over negotiations on your behalf. Instead of dealing with you and putting you under pressure, the insurance company can pass those offers through your lawyer. Your lawyer can take over many of those important communications on your behalf.

4. A lawyer can guide you through potential legal pitfalls.

Do you know what you can post on social media about your accident? Do you have to submit to an independent medical examination? What should you say to the insurance company when it contacts you? The road to a personal injury claim contains many potential pitfalls that could prevent you from getting the full compensation you deserve. An experienced personal injury attorney, on the other
Personal Injury Attorney, Matt Dolman
Personal Injury Attorney, Matt Dolman
hand, can guide you through the claim and help prevent you from making errors that could significantly diminish the compensation you can receive.

5. A lawyer can represent you in court.

While most personal injury claims settle out of court, some of them do need to go to court for resolution. Having an attorney on your side can help present your case in its best light as the attorney describes the suffering you have faced because of your injuries. Did you suffer injuries in an accident due to the negligence of another party? Do you need a lawyer to help you move forward with your personal injury claim? Contact a personal injury attorney today to learn more about your right to compensation.


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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