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The Difference Between Civil Attorneys and Civil Rights Attorneys


If you need an attorney, finding the right one can be daunting. In 2019, there were more than 1.3 million lawyers in the United States, and of those, roughly 170,000 practiced in California. Furthermore, U.S. News & World Report recognizes more than 100 different legal practice areas or specialties, which fall under the broader classifications of criminal or civil law.

Most Americans are undoubtedly more familiar with criminal law. It involves the prosecution and of people accused of various crimes, and punishment upon conviction. On the other hand, civil law involves the resolution of individual disputes through the courts. It also allows for the provision of compensation when wrongful behavior causes physical, financial, emotional or similar harm.

Civil attorneys represent clients in numerous matters ranging from personal injury to family law cases, employment law cases, business disputes, landlord tenant disputes and more. Some civil attorneys practice civil rights law. Whether you need a civil attorney or a civil rights attorney depends on the specific circumstances of your case.

Keep reading to learn more.

When to consider hiring a civil attorney

 People often hire civil attorneys when they need specific legal advice or when they are unable to resolve a disagreement. People also turn to civil attorneys when they have been harmed as a result of someone else’s negligence. The most common reason to hire a civil attorney is if someone has threatened to sue you, or you want to sue someone else.

The civil attorney that represents you will usually build your case by conducting relevant interviews. He or she will also communicate with the opposing party’s lawyer, file necessary documents in court and engage in applicable pre-trial negotiations. If the case is not settled prior to trial, he or she will also represent you in court.

When to hire a civil rights attorney

Civil rights laws are created for three general purposes. The first is to ensure that people are treated fairly and equally. The second is to ensure that they are not subject to discrimination based on certain characteristics or beliefs. The third is to ensure that anyone who discriminates against protected groups is held accountable.

You may need a civil rights lawyer if you have experienced discrimination based on: your age, gender, race, religion, national origin, marital status or similar factors. More specifically, you may want to consult a civil rights lawyer if you were wrongfully searched or had property seized, based on any of the factors detailed above. You may also want to do so if you experienced inappropriate punishment or discipline, did not get a job or a promotion, or were mistreated by a public official based on these factors.

A qualified civil rights attorney can assess the merits of your claim and determine whether you have a viable case. If necessary, he or she can also guide you through the process of filing a government claim before initiating a lawsuit.

When to consult LawPLA

At LawPLA, we do not practice civil rights law. However, we do handle civil law cases and represent clients with business disputes, personal injury and employment claims. To learn if we can help you, contact us through our website, or call us to schedule an initial consultation at (213) 293-7881.


PLEASE NOTE: This is not a representation, warranty, or guarantee of a future result or outcome. Every case is different just like every one of our clients.