Legal Categories

About Legal Categories

Legal issues can be broken down into particular legal categories (i.e. areas) of the law. It is imperative to understand what area(s) of the law your legal issue or question deals with. Otherwise, it is nearly impossible to determine what legal analysis and laws to apply. Check out the legal categories below to learn more about the law and find legal articles.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) deals with the many ways that individuals and businesses can settle disputes without going to court. Negotiation is often the first ADR method used to voluntarily try to settle disputes. If negation fails, parties may use mediation, arbitration, or other ADR methods.

Business Law deals with the many types of issues that arise in the business world. For example, this section addresses business formation, entity selection, negotiations, transactions, purchasing and selling of assets (i.e. things), purchase and sale agreements, buy-sell agreements, shareholder agreements, etc. Business Law may overlap with other legal categories such as contract law, tax law, property law, employment law, etc. So, depending on what you’re looking for, you may want to read these articles in conjunction with other legal category articles.

Contract law deals with the many issues that arise during a contract situation. You essentially need three elements to prove that a contract exists including an offer, acceptance, and consideration – this is the formation of a contract. Contract law also covers the many other issues involved in contracts such as intent and interpretation, the statute of frauds, parol evidence, implied terms, warranties, promissory estoppel, restitution, breach of a contract, the Uniform Commercial Code, common law contract issues, etc.

Constitutional law is the backbone of the democratic legal world. Essentially all laws are derived from a contract between and among people in a democracy – called a constitution. Whatever laws are not within a constitution (or statute) are generally left to common law, i.e. judge-made law. This section also deals with many highly publicized issues such as the freedom of speech, right to privacy, right to bear arms, right to a trial by jury, right to a speedy trial, right to confront witnesses against you, right to habeas corpus, etc. – all derived from the U.S. Constitution.

Criminal law deals with many issues that affect our criminal justice system. Criminal law covers the stages of a crime which includes the arrest, arraignment, preliminary hearing, grand jury indictment, pleas, motions, pre-trials, trials, acquittal or conviction, sentencing, and appeal. Criminal law addresses many types of crimes such as crimes against the person (e.g. assault and murder) and crimes against property (e.g. arson and burglary). Criminal law also covers defenses to criminal liability, and many special topics like probation, expungements, rehabilitation, and restitution.

Employment law deals with issues that arise in an employer-employee context. For example, employee law covers issues such as interviews, job recommendations, hiring, firing, retaliation, employee benefits, personal leave, vacation, medical leave, monitoring employees in the workplace, drug testing, etc. and the federal statutes that influence many employment matters such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), etc.

Estate and Trust Law deals with the management and disposition (i.e. transfer) of property in anticipation of death or incapacity, or for other related reasons. This section covers legal concepts such as wills, trusts, power of attorney, and health care directives. Estate and Trust Law should be your first stop to learn more about how to properly protect and transfer your personal assets.

Intellectual Property Law covers creations of the human mind (i.e. intangible works) and the ways in which such works can be legally protected. The most common types of intellectual property include copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. Copyrights protect such works including artistic drawings, films, musical compositions, paintings, photographs, poems, plays, sculptures, etc. Patents protect different types of inventions. Trademarks protect source identifiers for goods and services. And trade secrets represent information that is kept secret from the general public.

International Law deals with the rules and treaties that govern relationships between different countries. International law covers laws in different countries. International law also explores issues of citizenship, naturalization, and international travel.

Juvenile law deals with the laws that affect minors – i.e. those under a certain age (e.g. younger than 18 years old). Juvenile law is almost entirely left up to state laws because the U.S. Constitution does not address juvenile law and U.S. Congress has generally allowed the states to regulate their own laws on juveniles. The juvenile law section will greatly assist you in finding and learning about the general juvenile law rules that apply to most states. It will give you a basic foundation to assist you in better understanding the juvenile legal system.

Property law is one of the oldest areas of the law. Its origins date back centuries. Property law can be broken down into 2 main areas: (i) personal property and (ii) real property. Personal property generally encompasses tangible or intangible property that can be moved from place to place, i.e. moveable property. In contrast, real property deals with your home and the dirt (i.e. land) that it sits on. Real property can then be broken down into main areas such as freehold estates, non-freehold estates, conveyances, etc.

Special Topics deal with the areas of the law that have not been classified into a specific legal category. For example, if you cannot find anything on how to change your name, that legal article may be in the special legal topics category. Simply click on the special topics category to locate the many other types of legal articles offered by

Trial Practice deals with the “ins” and “outs” of what occurs in trials and other legal proceedings. Trials occur in state, federal, military, and other adjudicatory systems, and can come in civil, criminal, and quasi-criminal varieties. Trial Practice digs into the trenches and explores proper trial techniques in different legal settings.

The Legal Barometer is an open discussion about current news and events, their implications and impact on the law. The articles found in this category are often opinionated and are intended to start an open dialogue about today's legal issues. Read the articles for yourself and weigh in on the conversation.

Legal Documents ranging from the earliest known legal sources to our modern times.