There is a powerful evolution happening in the legal field. While conventional positions at law firms still exist, there are emerging legal jobs that do not fit in the traditional lawyer roles. The majority of this change is driven by technology and new ways to represent clients and perform legal tasks.
Unfortunately, law schools do not seem to be keeping up with the technology revolution. There is little training being done that prepares students to take on these emerging fields. Being aware of these new areas and working to gain some understanding of what it takes to be successful in the fields, can help law students and seasoned lawyers find gainful and satisfying employment in non-traditional roles.
Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) is a computer program that is trained to do tasks that are usually done by lawyers. This practice is currently being used to perform actions like document and contract review, drafting documents, and even some aspects of due diligence. The expansion of this technology is seemingly limitless.
However, all A.I. use still need lawyers to train the machines and oversee the results to make sure that the A.I. has completed its mission correctly. Lawyers are also needed to make sure that a company’s A.I. programs are ethical and comply with all laws and regulations. A lawyer could also find work advising government representatives on how to shape new A.I. laws to keep up with technological advances.
Cybersecurity laws are regulations and incentives that help protect individual privacy rights and the national interest online. The field is driven by many companies operating in-part or totally through the internet. New laws and regulations are being developed on both the federal and state level. If companies do not comply with these laws, they expose themselves to fines and possible information breaches.
Cybersecurity lawyers can work in-house as advisors by making sure large companies comply with the current laws. They could also litigate criminal and civil actions, or they could work with the government to develop new legislation.
This is an incredibly new field that has the potential to completely revitalize the way court cases are heard. It is so new, in fact, that laws and regulations are not passing fast enough to keep up with the technology. Again, the possibilities are endless and any aspect of a courtroom or trial preparation could be done virtually with the right technology.
Imagine being able to recreate a crime scene using virtual reality to be viewed by the jury. Or how about cutting costs and letting judges, lawyers, and the clients attend court virtually. This format is already being used successfully in some dispute resolution cases. Digital court reporters are also becoming more common. All of these technology advances will need to comply with current and future laws. Lawyers who understand this field will be in high demand when that happens.
Fast law is not a new field of law, per se. Rather, it is a term that encompasses access to justice by providing quick legal help. This field is growing in Canada and it is only a matter of time before it takes off in the U.S. too. For example, Access Law is a law firm in Canada that offers quick walk-in legal services 7-days a week. They are located in several Walmarts throughout the country.
Fast law also includes offering counsel quickly online through legal forums like RocketLawyer or LegalAdvice. Here, clients can log on and ask a legal question. They pay a fee and get quick legal help from a barred attorney with advice on the subject they need.
Cannabis law is a growing field that regulates the legal growing, sale, and business of marijuana. Cannabis laws differ by state and on the federal level. In some states, marijuana is legal. However, on the federal level, it is still always illegal.
The two main sub-fields are business law and criminal law. A business lawyer helps clients set up legal marijuana businesses and protects them from litigation. They make sure that their client follows all state laws and regulations. A criminal lawyer deals with clients who have broken the law and need representation. They could also represent clients who were using or selling marijuana in a state where it was legal but they are being prosecuted on the federal level.
Space law governs all space-related activities, including space technology, space exploration, weapons testing, ownership of celestial bodies like the moon and sun, and mining asteroids. Since there are no jurisdictional boundaries in space, the law governing it is generally handled internationally through treaties and agreements between space-faring countries.
A lawyer who works in the space law field more than likely will be an advisor. They can be an advisor to the government to help make treaties and agreements. They could also be an advisor to large companies to let them know what they can and can’t do in space. Alternatively, one space law position that is currently open is the role of Chief Exolawyer. This position will take the chosen on a one-way trip to Mars where they can possibly be the first lawyer to litigate with extraterrestrial life.