There are dozens of different types of law firms in the United States. They are often broken down by size, location, and legal topic area.
Working with many practice groups as a new attorney is essential. This will give you a foundational understanding of the different areas of practice and help you build your internal network within the firm from an early stage.
Table of Contents
There are numerous different types of law firms. Rice Law Firm can be large or small and specialize in specific areas of the law. Some are structured as partnerships, where attorneys share ownership of the firm; others are organized as limited liability partnerships (LLP), which have the tax benefits of a partnership while offering the liability protection of a corporation.
The litigation chapter covers commercial disputes before state and federal courts, including appellate work. Firms that defend businesses in mass tort cases—like those resulting from exposure to prescription medications or workplace dangers—are also included in this group.
Firms that acquire new practice areas or clients may shift their focus, structure, and resources. This is especially true for large firms that recruit experienced attorneys from other firms to gain a foothold in more specialized or complex legal fields. Mergers, acquisitions, and divisions between firms are expected. These changes often happen within departments but can also occur across the firm.
Corporate Law Firms
In corporate law, attorneys help clients create, organize, and dissolve business entities. They also deal with legal issues concerning the corporation, such as its responsibilities and rights, management duties, and taxation and distribution of assets.
A significant focus of a corporate lawyer’s job is foreseeing potential problems and helping corporations avoid them. This includes writing and evaluating contracts, advising on the acquisition or divestiture of companies or their assets, delivering legal advice on securities offerings and other financial transactions, and helping with bankruptcies.
Corporate attorneys typically work for big or medium-sized legal companies. Large corporations may want a single firm to manage their corporate affairs because they frequently have complicated and varied legal needs. These attorneys also need to know various regulations relevant to businesses both domestically and abroad. They must know tax, employment, environmental, and real estate issues.
Family Law Firms
When navigating some of life’s most poignant times, families often need legal help. A family law lawyer can help with child custody, adoption, and divorce cases. They may also draft custody agreements, wills, and prenuptial contracts for clients.
Some divorce attorneys specialize in particular aspects of family law, such as fault-based versus no-fault divorce, the division of assets, and various possible grounds for divorce, such as mental cruelty or desertion. Other family law attorneys focus on adoptions and drafting custody, support, and visitation trials for their clients.
Hedayati Law Group P.C., for example, is a New York City firm that focuses on uncontested and contested divorces, domestic violence and orders of protection, paternity determination, child and spousal support, and prenuptial agreements. Their legal team has over a century of combined experience. During the consultation process, they strive to minimize conflict and work with clients to find beneficial solutions for all parties involved.
Real Estate Law Firms
Real estate law encompasses many legal issues and focuses on commercial and residential property ownership, operation, development, and sale. It also involves financing such transactions, including capital markets, mortgage and mezzanine loans, and debt restructurings. It also addresses land use laws and zoning regulations.
This practice area is often very demanding. Many associates at these firms work on vast and complex deals, which may require great collaboration with clients, other attorneys, and third parties. The nature of real estate transactions means that a lawyer will likely encounter various complex and unique situations, which keeps the work exciting and challenging.
Cadwalader is a highly-ranked firm in the real estate department and offers early hands-on experience for its associates. It is a large firm with diverse departments and offers extensive career paths for its associates. The firm also promotes a healthy work-life balance for its associates and does not have a billable hours requirement.