Types of Law to Practice

By Jordan Fabel •  Updated: November 14, 2022  •  8 min read  •  Legal
Approved Course is reader-supported. If you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small commission.

If you’re considering going to school for law, it’s important to know the types of law to practice. Often, in law school, you will specialize in a specific area of law. Of course, you may also want to change the type of law you practice at some point in your career.

Before you choose the law you want to practice, it’s important to know the choices. Let’s look at some of the top types of law to practice in the United States.

Types of Law to Practice

Top 12 Types of Law to Practice

1. Corporate Law

Maybe the most common type of law to practice, corporate law is also a high-paying option. You can earn more than $116K per year as a corporate lawyer. In this field, you will work with corporations and represent them in a variety of cases.

By offering legal advice on anything from taxes to partnership agreements, you will help a corporation operate properly. You may also defend the corporation in civil lawsuits and help to negotiate settlements.

2. Criminal Law

A popular type of law you can practice is criminal law. This is the most common type of law seen on TV shows and movies. The median salary is about $81K in the United States. If you want to defend potential criminals, this is the area of expertise you want to go into.

You will be in charge of defending those that might have committed a crime. As a criminal lawyer, you will help protect people from abuse of power or disproportionate punishments. In some cases, you might defend innocent people, while in others, you will make sure the case is presented fairly.

Criminal law is rather complex and requires a long of research. You will advise clients and your salary will depend on the type of cases you take.

3. Entertainment Law

If you want to be a part of the entertainment industry, this is the type of law you want to practice. Entertainment law includes a lot of contracts. It’s a very paperwork-intensive business and many lawyers are needed to draw up the agreements.

While the American Bar Associationdoesn’t have a case law category for entertainment law, it is a legal practice and a type of law.

As an entertainment lawyer, you will likely consult with clients on legal issues about contracts, employment, intellectual property, taxation, and other fields. Your job duties will likely vary from one client to another.

4. Real Estate Law

Another very common type of law to practice is real estate law. It’s a top field and very popular. You will work with clients trying to buy or sell real estate or land quite often. It’s also common to provide legal advice when it comes to transfer documents, mortgage documents, and purchase agreements.

In some states, a real estate lawyer is necessary for a closing. If this is the case, you will likely handle closing quite often. Most real estate lawyers will oversee land transactions and help with the negotiations. You will have to know the current laws and trends if you want to become a real estate lawyer.

5. Family Law

Offering a median annual salary of about $70K, this isn’t the most lucrative type of law to practice. however, it can be a very popular choice as you will deal with family relationships. You might specialize in adoption, child custody, or another area of family law.

Some lawyers will take on cases in all areas of family law, however. In today’s modern age, this is one of the most common types of law to practice. With divorce rates at high levels, child support commonplace, and adoption becoming a normal thing, this type of attorney is needed by many.

6. International Law

If you enjoy traveling, international law might be for you. This type of law will cover many different areas. You might work as a consultant or advisor to an international organization. It’s also possible to work for international tribunals or even to work on the academic side of things.

As an international lawyer, you will likely do some traveling across the world. It’s not uncommon to work in different countries when you practice this type of law.

7. Intellectual Property Law

If you want to specialize in a lucrative area of law, intellectual property law might be for you. This type of law has to do with copyrights and you will spend a ton of time dealing with copyrights.

Within this type of law, you will likely encounter patent law, copyright law, licensing, trade secret law, trademark law, and unfair competition. As new products and technologies are developed more intellectual property lawyers are needed. This type of law has a high demand.

8. Civil Rights Law

If you want to defend human rights, this is the field for you. It has grown quite a bit over the years with more and more people needing a civil rights lawyer to defend them. You might focus on cases that have to do with discrimination or even police brutality. There are many avenues of law to explore within this category.

9. Labor and Employment Law

A very broad field of law, this type of law you can practice includes many different areas. You may take cares that have to do with discrimination in the workplace or have to do with workplace violations. Many lawyers going into this field will take cases that have to do with a breach of contract between the employee and employer.

10. Tax Law

If you want to specialize in an area that is very high in demand, tax law is for you. This type of law has to do with people that haven’t paid taxes or need help with paying taxes. Tax law is one of the highest-paying areas of law and offers a great choice for those with a fascination with taxes.

You can work with individuals or corporations. Many tax lawyers will provide advice based on the current tax laws to help clients protect their financial interests. It’s a high-demand career and one of the top types of law to practice.

11. Personal Injury Law

Another common type of law to practice is personal injury law. We have all seen or heard the commercials for this type of attorney. Most personal injury lawyers will take cases involving an accident, such as a car crash or a workplace accident. It can be a less stressful type of law due to the facts being more easily provable. Most cases end up settling before going to court, too.

12. Environmental Law

A popular type of law to practice is environmental law. If you want to help save the planet, this is likely the option for you. It can be rather lucrative, too, in the right areas.

Environmental law is one with plenty of demand. It can be stressful, but some areas of this type of law can be less stressful.

The Most Lucrative Types of Law to Practice

1. Medical Law

As a medical lawyer, you can earn more than $156K per year, on average. It’s one of the most lucrative types of law to practice. It’s also a low-stress type of law you can practice You will likely deal with malpractice and criminal law cases that have to do with medical practices and treatments.

2. Patent Law

A type of law to practice that pays an average base salary of around $144K, patent law is a very lucrative choice. This career can lead you to make a lot of money and enjoy your job.

You will deal with people that invent things and others that might think someone has copied their invention. As a patent lawyer, you get a lower level of stress and a high salary.

3. IP Law

If you want to go into the technology field as an attorney, IP law is for you. It’s also very lucrative with an average annual salary of about $142K per year. This type of law will likely include working with the internet, technical inventions, copyrights, and designs.

How to Become a Lawyer

No matter which type of law you practice, you will have to follow the steps to become a lawyer. This will require an undergraduate degree and law school.

Getting a four-year degree in an area that has to do with the type of law you want to practice can help. If you want to go into corporate law, a business management degree might make sense.

You will also need to take the LSAT to get into law school. This test is vital to becoming a lawyer, no matter the type of law you want to practice.

Of course, you will need to get your law license and pass the bar exam, too. Make sure you’re well-prepared for the exam or you might not pass on the first time.

Choosing a type of law to practice can really help you find the right career. These are some of the top options if you want to become a lawyer.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path. I, personally, am the high school dropout son of two teacher parents. So how did I get here? That story is coming soon!