Fields of Practice Details
Clients and lawyers alike often find discussions about fields of practice confusing. This is generally because “fields of practice” (or “practice areas”) is often used to describe two different things: a legal subject matter or field of law, as well as the context in which a particular client’s legal question may have arisen. For example, a lawyer might list both “business and corporate” and “contracts” as fields of practice, but legal matters involving businesses (a context) may involve matters of contract law (a legal subject matter).
There is no way to remedy all of the confusion because fields of practice are not mutually exclusive and because a single issue may involve many different legal subjects. Nonetheless, to help aid potential clients better understand their issue and determine whether we provide the services they need, we have chosen to list the general legal subject matters for which we provide services, including a brief description of the subject, followed by the types of matters we handle that are associated with them. Please bear in mind that the terminology and explanations that follow are the author's alone and are intended only to aid potential clients in determining whether we provide the type of service they may need. It is not intended to be used nor should it be relied upon in making legal decisions.
Briefly stated, admiralty is the law of the sea. Also called maritime law, it encompasses matters that occur on or relate to navigable waterways, including marine vessels, shipping, and ship and dock workers. If your legal issue is in any way related to navigable waters or marine vessels, chances are it involves a question of admiralty law. We handle several types of admiralty cases.
As the name suggests, business associations is the law of business entities (partnerships, corporations, limited liability companies, etc.). It covers such things as the requirements for formation of different types of entities and the legal peculiarities and consequences associated with them – control, liability, profit and loss sharing, etc. We offer a broad range of services for businesses, including business formation.
Constitutional law is one of the most pervasive areas of American law because the U.S. Constitution covers a very broad range of issues and because, as the governing law of the United States, it preempts state and local law dealing with the same subject matter. Constitutional law covers such broad topics as the role and power of the U.S. government (and each of its three branches); the powers of state and local governments, and civil rights of American citizens. It touches on everything from police conduct to land use. It also pervades the field of criminal law, since so many of the civil rights of American citizens are protections against government conduct and protections afforded criminal defendants.
Matters of constitutional law generally arise in other contexts for which we provide services. As such, we deal with constitutional issues on a regular basis, but we don’t concentrate in constitutional law per se.
The law of contracts concerns the relationship between parties to an agreement, including the requirements for the formation of a binding agreement, the duties and obligations of the parties to such an agreement, and remedies available to the parties upon breach, etc. If your legal issue involves an agreement or purported agreement, it involves issues of contract law. We offer the following types of services:
- Contract review and negotiation
- Contract drafting
- Representation in all civil matters involving contract disputes
We represent clients in most types of minor criminal matters.
Broadly speaking, family law encompasses domestic and family matters, from divorce and child custody to domestic violence. We have a diverse family-law practice and handle the following types of matters:
- Alimony and post-separation support
- Equitable distribution
- Child custody
- Child support
- Pre-marital and marital agreements
- Separation agreements
- Domestic violence
Property law deals with the possession and ownership of property, both personal and real (land) and the rights and privileges incidental thereto. It encompasses such matters as real estate transactions and deeds; estates in land; landlord and tenant; easements, licenses and covenants; zoning and land-use law, and eminent domain.
Generally speaking, “torts” are civil wrongs (other than breach of contract) for which parties may seek legal recourse. The law of torts covers perhaps the broadest range of issues of any legal subject, from intentional torts like assault and battery, to fraud and defamation; from negligence to invasion of privacy. We represent clients in all types of tort cases, both as plaintiffs and defendants.
Because tort law covers such a broad range of issues and because some of the underlying principles can be confusing, in listing the matters for which we provide services we chose to list the contexts in which tort issues are likely to arise, rather than specific torts or doctrines.
We handle trademarks at both the state and federal level. We do not handle patents. Patent law is a legal specialty requiring additional training and special certification. We’d be glad to help you find a patent attorney.
Wills, Trusts, & Estates
In addition to drafting and reviewing simple wills, we also handle related matters, such as drafting living wills and powers of attorney. We also handle estate administration. We don’t currently do complex estate planning. If we believe that you need more than a simple will or that you might benefit from more sophisticated estate planning, we’ll be glad to refer you to an attorney that will be better able to help you.