What Are Civil Lawyers?

Unlike criminal lawyers, whose cases are primarily about punishment or enforcement, civil attorneys represent clients attempting to settle non-criminal disputes, including divorce settlements, divorce proceedings, alimony agreements, and disputes over property ownership. 

In addition to filing legal briefs, these lawyers also serve as legal advisers, advising on estate planning, tax planning, and personal injury law. They also work with financial institutions on loan modification and bankruptcy law.

Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

Unlike criminal law or criminal courts, civil law does not involve any court hearings or jury trials. Civil cases, like other civil cases, are settled through mediation, negotiations, or by using a system of arbitration. An attorney who has specialized in representing a client’s claim against the government is known as a “civil rights lawyer.”

In the United States, law schools have begun to offer law degrees in this field. Attorneys working in this field earn a certificate of completion from an accredited law school. Those specializing in criminal law may also pursue a degree in this field and other courses that will prepare them for their career choice. The best universities that offer degrees in this field include the University of California, Berkeley; George Washington University Law School; Southern Illinois University Carbondale; and Boston College Law School.

Most attorneys who practice in the public sector are either employed in the judicial branch, which is the government, or in private practices, which are companies or organizations engaged in business activities. These types of attorneys often work under federal, state, or local authorities. However, some attorneys also serve as legal counsel for individuals and businesses that have never sued another person. Some private firms also hire attorneys to perform litigation work to conduct the case, rather than hiring a law firm to handle the legal aspect of a case.

In the US, attorneys are required to obtain licenses from the Bar Associations of the states they practice before practicing law in those states. They are also required to have a minimum number of years of law experience in practice. A lawyer who has practiced law for five years or more is considered an experienced lawyer, while a lawyer who has practiced law for less than five years is not as experienced.

Like any other type of legal system, the criminal and civil systems are divided into several expertise levels. Attorneys who work on cases involving felony charges are referred to as district attorneys. Those who practice civil law exclusively on non-felonious crimes are referred to as family lawyers. Private practices can represent individuals or businesses who specialize in criminal law are referred to as corporate, criminal, or corporate defense lawyers. All other lawyers whose practices focus on criminal and civil law are referred to as criminal defense lawyers.