What is a General Practice Lawyer?

By Jedidiah McKeehan

Quick! Something traumatic happens in your life and you need a lawyer. Pull up the search engine on your phone and find a lawyer to help you with this situation. I would bet what you typed into your phone was, _________ lawyer. Divorce lawyer. Criminal lawyer. Personal injury lawyer. Bankruptcy lawyer. Construction lawyer. Probate lawyer.

Almost all lawyers specialize in some specific area of the law. It makes sense. When you practice primarily in one area, you become more proficient in that area, and you become known as a go-to person in that field.

Occasionally, and it seems to be more and more rare, I will encounter someone who has a “general practice.” What does that mean?

First, you will generally find general practice lawyers in smaller communities where there are fewer lawyers. If you are the only lawyer in town, everyone is going to come to you to represent them regardless of the kind of case they have, and if you are willing to represent them, they are willing to hire you.

Are general practice or specialized lawyers better? Logically, a specialized lawyer has its benefits. If someone does criminal law all day, every day, you would think they are the best fit for a criminal case.

On the other hand, lawyers who have experience in a broad range of legal areas can speak with authority about several areas of the law. For example, a divorce case may have bankruptcy, criminal, tax, juvenile, and real estate ramifications. A lawyer who has some knowledge about these areas is able to advise their client in ways that a specialized lawyer may not be able to do so.


Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties.  He works in many areas, including family law, criminal, and personal injury. Visit attorney-knoxville.com for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.