All the rules and regulations that are required to maintain a community, organization, society, or a country are referred as its laws. Laws regulate the behavior of the members of the community. There are property laws, constitutional laws, contract laws, criminal laws, religious laws, and even international laws governing relations between nations. In a democracy, there is the rule of the law, which indicates it is a fair system of rule.
TYPES OF LAW
Civil law is the area of law that is concerned with the balance of governmental power and individual liberties.
Criminal laws are designed to protect society as a whole from wrongful actions. Criminal defense lawyers represent clients accused of crimes. Their public counterparts are the prosecutors and district attorneys who represent the interests of the state in the prosecution of those accused of crimes. Both types of criminal lawyers deal with fundamental issues of the law and personal liberty. They defend many of the basic rights considered crucial to the preservation of a free and just society.
An education law attorney may provide advice, counsel, and representation of a school district or other educational agency in matters pertinent to education law, such as student residency, governance issues, the principal and teacher selection and retention process, student discipline, special-education law, tuition fraud, and in the development of educational policies. Other education law attorneys may represent parents with special-education or student-expulsion matters against a school district.
Intellectual Property Laws
Intellectual property laws are concerned with the protection of inventors’ rights in their discoveries, authors’ rights in their creations, and businesses’ rights in their identifying marks. Often, an intellectual property lawyer will specialize in a particular area of the law. For example, for those attorneys with a technical background, patent law is a way to combine one’s scientific and legal background into one practice. A copyright attorney counsels authors, composers, and artists on the scope of their rights in their creations and personal identities; negotiates contracts; and litigates to enforce these rights. In recent years, copyright law has also focused on technological advances, particularly developments in electronic publishing. Additionally, in today’s global economy, intellectual property issues are at the forefront of international trade negotiations.
Family and Juvenile Laws
Family, or domestic relations, law is concerned with relationships between individuals in the context of the family. Many lawyers who practice this kind of law are members of small law firms or are solo practitioners. They specialize in solving problems that arise among family members and in creating or dissolving personal relationships through such means as adoption or divorce.
Employment and Labor Laws
Employment and labor laws address the legal rights of workers and their employers. Issues might include disputes regarding wages; hours; unlawful termination; child labor; workplace safety; workplace injury and disease; family and related leave; pension and benefit plans; the right to unionize; regulations of and negotiations with union employees; sexual harassment; discrimination based upon race, gender, age, and disabilities; and government civil service systems. Attorneys practicing employment and labor law might represent an individual employee, a group of employees, job applicants, a union, union employees, government workers, a large or small business or organization, a government agency, or interest groups.
Corporate and Securities Laws
Corporate laws include the business laws. The corporate lawyer helps clients conduct their business affairs in a manner that is efficient and consistent with the law. The responsibilities of a corporate lawyer can range from preparing the initial articles of incorporation and bylaws for a new enterprise to handling a corporate reorganization under the provisions of federal bankruptcy law. Examples of other areas of corporate laws practice include (but are not limited to) contract, intellectual property, legislative compliance, and liability matters.
Securities law is an extremely complex area that almost always requires the services of a specialist. Lawyers who acquire this specialty are involved with the formation, organization, and financing of corporations through securities such as stock, as well as mergers, acquisitions, and corporate takeovers.
Real Estate Laws
Real estate laws generally involve anything dealing with real property (land). These laws are designed to determine who owns land and the buildings on it, who has a right to possess and use land or buildings, the sale and purchase of real property, landlord and tenant issues, the development of real property, and compliance with local, state, or national regulations affecting the use of real property.
An attorney practicing real estate laws may focus on contractual issues by drafting and reviewing contracts; some real estate attorneys may be more focused on litigation issues, such as determining the ownership of land in court, challenging or enforcing easements, seeking to allow the specific development of property, or trying to prevent or alter a planned development of real property. In addition, an attorney practicing real estate laws may focus on a specific type of real estate law or a related area of law, such as oil and gas or natural resources law.
In the past 50 years, the importance and complexity of federal, state, and local taxes have necessitated a specialty in this field of law. It is one area of the law where change is constant. The federal Internal Revenue Code and its associated regulations are now several thousand pages in length. New statutes, court decisions, and administrative rulings are issued frequently, and the tax lawyer must be alert to these changes. Economic planning usually includes attention to taxes, and the tax lawyer often assists clients in understanding and minimizing their tax liabilities.
Environmental and Natural Resources Laws
Environmental laws were born out of widespread public and professional concern about the fate of our natural resources. Lawyers in this field may tackle legal and regulatory issues relating to air and water quality, hazardous waste practice, natural gas transportation, oil and gas exploration and development, electric power licensing, water rights, toxic torts, public land use, marine resources, and energy trade regulation. They may work directly for governmental agencies that address environmental problems or represent corporations, public interest groups, and entities concerned about protecting the environment.
International laws have grown significantly as a field of practice, reflecting the increasing interdependence of nations and economies. Immigration and refugee law also assumes increasing importance as more people move more frequently across national boundaries for business, tourism, or permanent resettlement. Public international law provides a limited range of job opportunities, particularly with national governments or international institutions or with public interest bodies. Private international law may offer more extensive employment opportunities, either through law firms or for corporations, banks, or telecommunications firms. Fluency in another language or familiarity with another culture can be a decided advantage for law school graduates who seek to practice in the international arena.
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