Fields of Law: Different Types of Law Explained

By Jordan Fabel •  Updated: January 5, 2022  •  7 min read  •  Legal
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When you decide you want to become an attorney, you will likely specialize in one or more fields of law. There are many different types of law to choose from. Some attorneys become criminal defense attorneys, while others go into corporate law.

Before you choose the type of law you want to practice, it’s smart to consider different fields of law. Let’s look at the most common options below.

Types of Law

17 Common Types of Law to Consider as an Attorney

1. Criminal Law

While it’s certainly one of the fields of law, criminal law is actually more of culture. You will cover some of the most serious problems in society when you decide to become a criminal lawyer. While some cases may include petty crimes on the lower end like theft and DUIs, you may also defend accused murders and rapists.

There is a lot of opportunity in this field in both public and private practice. If you work in private practice, you can work as a criminal defense attorney. Those working in the public sector will likely work as a prosecutor.

As a criminal defense lawyer, you can expect to make between $78K and $106K per year. If you become a prosecutor, your salary will range from $55K to about $76K per year.

2. Contract Law

You will need to have incredible attention to detail to practice as a contract attorney. Contract law has to do with all the most essential parts of a contract. This type of law helps to provide the foundation for all types of transactions.

If you decide to become a contract lawyer, you can expect to earn about $67K per year, according to ZipRecruiter.com.

3. Constitutional and Administrative Law

The most important field of law you will find, constitutional and administrative law is a very popular choice. If you become an attorney in this area, you will work to make sure the government and its agencies are acting in the public interest and within their specific powers.

It’s common for this type of attorney to take on high-profile cases. However, you may also work on small local issues, too. As a Constitutional attorney, your average salary will range from $24K to $216K with an average of about $88K per year.

4. Tort Law

It’s a rather uncommon area for an attorney to go into, but tort law is also pretty interesting. It’s more common in the UK, but lawyers can still work in this area in the US, as well.

If you choose to go into this type of law, you can work for an employer or for private individuals. The salary will average about $77K per year.

5. Land and Estate Law

Maybe you prefer to work in the type of law that governs land. Land and estate law will cover things, such as easements, mortgages, covenants, and the use of land.

This type of lawyer will take on clients with disputes over land matters including boundaries and rights. You may work for private individuals or the state. Any landowner might need a land and estate attorney.

If you choose this field of law, expect to earn a salary of about $114K per year.

6. Equities and Trusts

When you work in the field of equities and trusts, you will work in a very complex field of law. While equity is all about fairness and trust has to do with the rules, this type of law has an almost unfair complexity.

Equities will cover all areas of law. If this is the specialty you choose, you might end up working in inheritance law or with charities.

According to GlassDoor.com, you can earn around $69K per year in this field of law.

7. Banking and Finance Law

If you love working with numbers, banking and finance law is probably a good choice for you. As one of the more complex fields of law, you will need great attention to detail in this type of law.

Attorneys working in banking and finance law can earn around $114K per year. You will spend most of your time focusing on loans, along with the purchase of bigger items.

8. Insurance Law

If you want to deal with the laws governing insurance, this is the field of law for you. Insurance law has three categories: regulations of the content of insurance policies, regulations of business of insurance, and regulations of claim handling. you can specialize in any of these areas.

As an insurance lawyer, you will help to determine if a client is liable for damages. Then, you will help to figure out what those damages are based on the contracts. This type of attorney earns a salary between $59K and $131K per year.

9. Charity Law

If you prefer to work with charities, this is the type of law for you. Charity law is a sector found in trusts law. This type of attorney can earn a salary between $52K and $54K per year.

10. Corporate Law

Many attorneys go into corporate law because it’s at the top of the legal world. Typically, these attorneys are known as the elite in the field. They may work to incorporate companies, deal with shareholders’ rights, handle articles of association, deal with public listings, and so much more.

This is one of the highest-paying fields of law. As a corporate attorney, you can expect to make a salary ranging from $74K to $202K per year.

11. Family Law

Another very popular type of law for new attorneys is family law. This area of law allows you to help people with marriage issues, divorce, child custody, adoption, financial claims, and more. Outside of corporate law, family law probably gets the most attention.

If you decide to go into family law, you can expect to make an average salary of around $92K per year. The range can go up to about double that, however.

12. Intellectual Property Law

Also called IP lawyers, an intellectual property lawyer will deal with complex issues around patents, design rights, copyright, and trademarks. Many IP lawyers will spend time offering legal advice about the usage when it comes to marketing. They will also advise on infringement issues and commercial viability.

As an IP attorney, you can expect to make a salary between $95K and $135K per year.

13. Shipping Law

Specialize in the laws surrounding the shipping of goods with this type of law. Shipping law includes contracts, construction of ships, harbor infrastructure, charter agreements, and more.

14. Tax Law

You can work in tax law and help those with tax issues or work for the government. Public tax lawyers work for the government and try to find ways to increase the taxes paid. Private tax lawyers will work for individuals and companies to ensure they are only paying what they must.

15. Competition Law

Also called antitrust law, competition law has different levels throughout the world. You can work in many different areas of competition law. It’s the type of law that helps to ensure consumer welfare and fair competition is protected in the market economy.

16. Litigation/Dispute Resolution

If a dispute comes up, you will help to resolve the issue. This type of law requires someone that is a great negotiator. You may work with individuals or companies in this field of law.

17. Commercial Law

Similar to corporate law, but much broader, commercial law may include all kinds of other types of law. You may work on contracts, shipping, insurance, and so much more. This is a very broad field of law.

If you want to become an attorney, you will likely need to specialize in a specific type of law. These are some of the most common fields of law to choose from.

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.