Types of Lawyers

Lawyers are professionals who are certified to practice law. They provide legal support and advice to their clients. They represent clients during trials and other legal proceedings and work towards achieving the goals of their client. These goals differ depending upon the nature of the case and the client. Lawyers are also involved in researching and analyzing legal issues and finding ways to solve their client’s problem. The main aim of any Lawyer in the world is to ensure that the verdict of the case is in the favor of their client. They make persuasive arguments in front of the Judge, investigate and interview witnesses and clients and try to find substantial proof to swing the case in their client’s favor.


Types of Lawyers

Contrary to popular perception, Lawyers do not spend all their time in court fighting cases or making arguments. As a matter of fact, more than 90% cases are settled before the court trials begin. These ‘out of court’ settlements are also managed by Lawyers. A major part of a Lawyer’s job is to negotiate with opposing parties, create legal documents and consult clients. However, there are some Lawyers whose work requires them to constantly be in the courtroom fighting cases. On the basis of this division, Lawyers can be broadly divided into the following types:


Trial Attorneys

‘Trial Attorneys’ are those types of Lawyers that spend most of their day in courtrooms fighting cases and making arguments. Their primary job is to make persuasive arguments in front of the jury so as to convince them to give the decision in his/her client’s favor. Trial Attorneys focus on researching legal questions, drafting arguments, preparing documents and points for trials and negotiating settlements. Most Trial Attorneys practice Criminal or Civil Law. Criminal Lawyers are primarily involved in courtroom cases whereas this might not always be necessary for Civil Lawyers. The amount of time Civil Lawyers spend in courtrooms fighting arguments depends on the type of case. For example, a Civil Lawyer fighting a case for Personal Injury might be required to go to a court and make arguments whereas the same Civil Lawyer might not need to go to court during a case related to Real Estate. Trial Attorneys are also known as ‘Litigators’.

Transactional Lawyers

‘Transactional Lawyers’ are those types of Lawyers who spend very little or no time in courts fighting cases. They function primarily as ‘Advisors’ to their clients and focus on counseling clients regarding legal and personal matters and drafting documents that are as per the law of the land. Most Lawyers work primarily as Transactional Lawyers. They provide advice to clients, prepare legal documents and negotiate transactions like contract signings, property purchases, corporate mergers etc. Transactional Lawyers can be of many types. Some are known as ‘Corporate Lawyers’ who ensure that commercial transactions between companies are carried out in a legal manner. Some also work as ‘Intellectual Property Lawyers’ who are involved in cases that are related to the creations of the human mind such as designs, patents, concepts, products etc. Transactional Lawyers are also concerned with the drafting and execution of important legal documents for real estate, corporate mergers, transfer or intellectual property or trademarks etc. A lot of big corporations hire Transactional Lawyers to work with them on a permanent basis as they constantly need advice on contracts and need to make sure that their transactions are carried out in a legal manner.


Please keep in mind that both Trial Attorneys and Transactional Lawyers are ‘Advocates’ and there is no legal division of roles between Lawyers. This division is more of a professional division and Lawyers are segregated into either of the two roles based on their general work activities. Lawyers choose to specialize in either of these two roles depending upon their skills and preference. As most people like to hire Lawyers who specialize in the particular field of law that the case relates to, you will generally not see a Lawyer who specializes in Contract laws fighting a Criminal case. However, this does not mean that it is not possible for a Lawyer who is more of a Transactional Lawyer to fight a case in court. Any Lawyer who has the specified law degree and license can fight a case in court.


Should I become a Transactional Lawyer or a Trial Attorney?

The answer to this question primarily depends on which type of a job profile do you prefer and the type of skills you possess. If you’re confident and good at making arguments and proving a point, then you should become a Trial Attorney. On the other hand, if you’re good at maintaining procedures, organizing details and drafting legal documents, then you should become a Transactional Lawyer.

Most Lawyers get attracted towards the job profile of Trial Attorneys. However, only around 25% of the total Lawyers regularly fight cases in courts. This is simply because becoming a Trial Attorney is not easy at all. Another big reason for this is that most cases actually do not reach the trial stages and are solved out of court. Trial Attorneys are required to be very quick thinkers with exceptional communication skills and confidence. Convincing Judges is not an easy task and requires a lot of intelligence and wit. They should be dynamic, flexible and have a thorough knowledge of the law. It is a difficult job and is not meant for everyone.

Transactional Lawyers on the other hand are involved with cases that do not require them to go to court and make arguments. This does not mean that Transactional Lawyers are less skilled or less respected compared to Trail Attorneys. They are experts in their particular field of law and are great at managing and negotiating contracts, mergers and acquisitions between companies. They make sure that all legal documents and transactions are in the best interest of their client. Transactional Lawyers play major roles in large corporations as well as in everyday life as they are required to draft documents and provide important advice to their clients. Compared to Trial Attorneys, Lawyers find more jobs as Transactional Lawyers and are regularly hired by corporate companies as well as individuals. You will need to be organized and pay attention to details if you want to become a Transactional Lawyer. So if you think you have the ability to spot even the smallest of clauses and if you find the idea of making arguments in court intimidating, then you should become a Transactional Lawyer. 

Find out about the different Career Options for Lawyers.

Legal professions

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