Big Law Practice Areas to Consider During Your Studies

The legal profession encompasses a vast array of specialized practice areas, each serving a unique segment of society’s needs. From probate law to immigration law, attorneys dedicate their careers to mastering the intricacies of these fields to provide expert guidance and representation. Understanding the various practice areas within the legal profession not only helps individuals find the right legal assistance but also sheds light on the extensive knowledge and skills required to excel in each domain. This comprehensive overview will delve into ten major practice areas in the legal field: Probate Law, Personal Injury, Environmental Law, Criminal Law, Disability Law, Employment Law, Tenant Law, Bankruptcy Law, Family Law, and Immigration Law. By exploring the functions and importance of each practice area, we can appreciate the diverse expertise that legal professionals bring to the table and the crucial role they play in upholding justice and facilitating societal harmony.

Probate Law

Probate law deals with the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person. This area of law ensures that the decedent’s debts are paid, and the remaining assets are distributed according to their will or state law if no will exists. A probate law firm specializes in navigating these often complex procedures, providing valuable assistance to executors and beneficiaries.

Probate law firms play a crucial role in managing estate conflicts and ensuring a smooth transition of assets. They help clients draft valid wills, establish trusts, and guide them through the probate process. In cases where a will is contested, probate attorneys are essential in representing their clients’ interests and resolving disputes efficiently.

In big law practice areas, probate law intersects with other fields such as tax law, real estate law, and family law. Large firms often have specialized probate departments that handle high-net-worth estates, complex trust arrangements, and intricate tax implications, ensuring comprehensive management of clients’ estates.

One of the essential services provided by probate law firms is the drafting and validating of wills. A will is a legal document that outlines how a person wishes to distribute their assets after death. Probate attorneys ensure that wills are properly executed according to state laws, reducing the likelihood of disputes among beneficiaries. They also advise clients on how to structure their wills to minimize tax liabilities and ensure that their wishes are carried out as intended.

Trusts are another critical aspect of estate planning handled by probate law firms. Trusts can be used to manage assets during a person’s lifetime and distribute them after death without going through probate. This can save time and reduce legal costs. Probate attorneys assist clients in setting up various types of trusts, such as revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, and special needs trusts, tailored to meet their specific needs and objectives.

In addition to estate planning, probate law firms provide valuable guidance during the probate process itself. When a person dies, their estate must go through probate, a court-supervised process to settle debts and distribute assets. Probate attorneys help executors fulfill their duties, which include inventorying assets, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to beneficiaries. This can be a complex and time-consuming process, and having an experienced attorney can ensure that it is handled correctly and efficiently.

Another important role of probate attorneys is to represent clients in probate litigation. Disputes can arise over the validity of a will, the interpretation of its terms, or the conduct of the executor. Probate attorneys advocate for their clients’ interests in court, striving to resolve conflicts in a manner that honors the decedent’s wishes and protects the rights of beneficiaries.

Probate law firms also provide assistance with ancillary probate, which is necessary when a decedent owns property in a state other than where they lived. This process requires navigating the probate laws of multiple states, making it particularly challenging. Probate attorneys can manage this process, ensuring that all assets are properly accounted for and distributed according to the decedent’s wishes.

Lastly, probate law firms often work closely with financial advisors, accountants, and other professionals to provide comprehensive estate management services. This collaboration ensures that all aspects of the estate, from tax implications to asset distribution, are handled efficiently and effectively. By leveraging their expertise and resources, probate law firms help clients navigate the complexities of estate planning and probate, providing peace of mind during what can be a challenging time.

Personal Injury

Personal injury law encompasses legal remedies and defenses involved in civil lawsuits brought as a result of wrongful conduct. This practice area primarily deals with cases where someone suffers harm from an accident or injury, and another party might be legally responsible for that harm. A car accident law firm is a common example of a personal injury firm, focusing on cases arising from vehicle collisions.

Personal injury attorneys advocate for their clients to obtain compensation for their losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. They gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and if necessary, represent clients in court to ensure fair settlements or verdicts. In big law practice areas, personal injury can cover a broad spectrum, including medical malpractice, product liability, and workplace injuries. Large firms may handle high-stakes cases involving significant financial damages and complex legal issues, requiring a deep understanding of tort law and litigation strategies.

Environmental Law

Environmental law involves the regulation and protection of natural resources and the environment. This area of law covers a wide range of issues, including air and water quality, hazardous waste, and land use. Although seemingly unrelated, environmental law can impact industries such as ice fishing charters by regulating activities that affect natural habitats and ecosystems.

Environmental attorneys work with governmental agencies, non-profits, and private companies to ensure compliance with environmental regulations and advocate for policies that protect the environment. They handle cases involving pollution control, conservation efforts, and sustainable development practices. In big law practice areas, environmental law intersects with corporate law, real estate law, and administrative law. Large firms often represent major corporations in compliance matters, litigation, and regulatory negotiations, providing expertise in navigating the complex web of environmental statutes and regulations.

Criminal Law

Criminal Law

Criminal law involves the prosecution and defense of individuals charged with criminal conduct. A criminal attorney represents clients accused of crimes, ranging from minor offenses like traffic violations to serious felonies such as murder. This practice area requires a deep understanding of criminal statutes, constitutional rights, and procedural rules.

Criminal attorneys work to protect their clients’ rights throughout the criminal justice process, from investigation and arrest to trial and appeal. They negotiate plea bargains, present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and provide legal counsel to ensure a fair trial and just outcome. In big law practice areas, criminal law can encompass white-collar crimes, corporate fraud, and high-profile cases requiring extensive resources and expertise. Large firms may have dedicated criminal defense teams with specialized knowledge in areas such as securities fraud, antitrust violations, and complex financial crimes.

Disability Law

Disability law focuses on the rights and protections of individuals with disabilities. Disability attorneys advocate for clients in matters related to Social Security disability benefits, employment discrimination, accessibility, and reasonable accommodations. This area of law ensures that individuals with disabilities receive equal treatment and opportunities.

Disability attorneys assist clients in navigating the complex application process for disability benefits, appealing denied claims, and representing them in hearings and appeals. They also work to ensure compliance with laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and advocate for policies that promote accessibility and inclusion. In big law practice areas, disability law can intersect with employment law, civil rights law, and healthcare law. Large firms may handle significant disability discrimination cases, representing clients in class action lawsuits or advising corporations on compliance with disability laws and regulations.

Employment Law

Employment law governs the relationship between employers and employees, encompassing a wide range of issues such as workplace discrimination, wage and hour disputes, and wrongful termination. An employment attorney represents clients in these matters, ensuring fair treatment and compliance with labor laws. Employment attorneys provide legal counsel on employment contracts, workplace policies, and employee rights. They represent clients in disputes before administrative agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and in court, advocating for fair treatment and compensation. In big law practice areas, employment law can involve large-scale litigation, complex regulatory compliance, and advisory services for multinational corporations. Large firms may represent both employees and employers, offering expertise in navigating the intricacies of employment regulations and labor relations.

Tenant Law

Tenant Law

Tenant law, also known as landlord-tenant law, addresses the legal rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants. A tenant attorney represents tenants in disputes with landlords, including issues such as eviction, lease agreements, and habitability standards. Tenant attorneys advocate for tenants’ rights, ensuring that landlords comply with housing laws and regulations. They assist clients in negotiating lease terms, addressing maintenance issues, and defending against wrongful evictions. Tenant attorneys also work to ensure that rental properties meet health and safety standards. In big law practice areas, tenant law can intersect with real estate law, housing policy, and civil rights law. Large firms may represent tenant organizations, housing authorities, or property management companies, providing comprehensive legal services in complex landlord-tenant disputes.

Bankruptcy Law

Bankruptcy law deals with the legal process by which individuals or businesses unable to pay their debts can seek relief. A bankruptcy lawyer represents clients in filing for bankruptcy, navigating the various chapters of bankruptcy, and negotiating with creditors. Bankruptcy attorneys provide legal counsel on debt relief options, asset protection, and financial restructuring. They assist clients in preparing bankruptcy petitions, attending court hearings, and developing repayment plans. Bankruptcy attorneys also work to protect clients’ rights and interests throughout the bankruptcy process. In big law practice areas, bankruptcy law can involve large corporate bankruptcies, complex financial restructurings, and high-stakes litigation. Large firms may represent creditors, debtors, or trustees, offering specialized expertise in navigating the intricacies of bankruptcy proceedings and financial recovery.

Family Law

Family law encompasses legal issues related to family relationships, including divorce, child custody, adoption, and domestic violence. Family law attorneys provide legal counsel and representation in these sensitive matters, ensuring that clients’ rights and interests are protected. Family law attorneys assist clients in negotiating settlements, drafting legal documents, and representing them in court. They provide guidance on issues such as spousal support, property division, and parenting plans, helping clients navigate the emotional and legal complexities of family disputes. In big law practice areas, family law can involve high-net-worth divorces, complex custody battles, and international family law matters. Large firms may have dedicated family law teams with expertise in mediation, collaborative law, and litigation, offering comprehensive legal services to clients facing significant family law challenges.

Immigration Law

Immigration Law

Immigration law deals with the legal processes and requirements for individuals seeking to enter, reside in, or obtain citizenship in a country. An immigration lawyer represents clients in matters such as visa applications, deportation defense, and naturalization. Immigration attorneys provide legal counsel on immigration policies, eligibility requirements, and documentation. They assist clients in preparing applications, attending immigration interviews, and representing them in immigration court. Immigration attorneys also advocate for clients facing deportation, ensuring that their rights are protected and that they receive fair treatment. In big law practice areas, immigration law can intersect with corporate law, labor law, and human rights law. Large firms may represent multinational corporations in securing work visas for employees, advise clients on compliance with immigration regulations, and handle high-profile immigration cases involving complex legal issues.


The legal profession is a diverse and dynamic field, encompassing a wide range of specialized practice areas that cater to various aspects of society’s needs. From probate law to immigration law, each practice area requires a unique set of skills and expertise, highlighting the multifaceted nature of legal practice. Understanding these practice areas not only helps individuals find the right legal assistance but also underscores the critical role that legal professionals play in upholding justice, protecting rights, and facilitating societal harmony. By appreciating the complexities and nuances of each legal practice area, we can better understand the invaluable contributions of attorneys in navigating the legal landscape and addressing the diverse needs of their clients.

Scroll to Top