The published statutes of a state usually have a section on the topic of liens under which is listed most or all of the liens allowed by state law. A great number of persons in trade or business obtain liens for their services to personal property: garage keepers and warehouse owners for unpaid rent for storage; automobile mechanics for repairs; jewelers; dry cleaners and furriers; artisans for restoration of art objects; bankers; factors dealing in commodities; and many others. Not to be outdone, attorneys have a lien for their fees and may retain clients' files—perhaps containing vital information or documents needed by the client for work or family affairs—until the fees are paid.
A judgment lien can, when entered by a court after a suit, affect all the real and personal property of one who fails to pay a debt, such as a promissory note to a bank, credit card balance, or judgment for injury the person may have caused. In some states the lien of a properly docketed judgment affects all the debtor's property in every county where notice of the judgment is filed. State law governs the length of time such liens survive—which in some states is as long as ten years. Judgments can be enforced by executions and sale of property until the amount due is satisfied.
Courts of EQUITY have the power to create so-called equitable liens on property to correct some injustice. For example, one whose money was embezzled may obtain a lien on the wrongdoer's property by suing for a CONSTRUCTIVE TRUST.