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Law

From a formal dinner to a game of monopoly, wherever humans congregate, we create rules to help us interact with morality and efficiency. The primary difference between these social rules and laws is that the latter have been deemed important enough that a governing body enforces them via policing and a court system. While such laws usually find their roots in religious texts, there is a current motion toward a secular system in many countries. Often, as in the United States and China, a country has drawn up a document clearly articulating their base constitutions, but there are cases, such as that of the United Kingdom where legal matters are processed in accordance with an uncodified constitution.

Depiction of King Ur-Nammu, whose law code is the oldest existing in the world.

However drafted, laws largely serve the same basic functions across the world: to keep a community safe. Be it safe from robbery, assault, identity theft, a vehicle collision caused by someone driving on the wrong side of the road, or even safe in financial or environmental terms by ensuring inheritance occurs as intended and waste is not dumped in fresh water sources, the laws of a land act as a deterrent and punishment to encourage self-control and accountability in a population. Law is generally split into criminal and civil categories. The former are cases brought forward against an individual by the state which seek to punish felonies and misdemeanors with incarceration, fines, etc while civil law deals with disputes between individuals or corporations in which a person found guilty must compensate the plaintiff, usually by monetary means. However, there are many subcategories of law, as can be seen below, and lawyers from any field can be very well compensated and also very highly respected - for example, 25 out of the 44 US presidents as of 2013 were lawyers at one point¹.

 

[2] Wall Street Journal Law Blog - Barack Obama: The U.S.’s 44th President (and 25th Lawyer-President!)

 

Categories within Law

Tort Law

Postings: 86

Processed by civil courts, tort law aims to compensate individuals who can prove they have suffered injury or loss as the result of another's failure to uphold their legal duty. Examples of cases falling under tort law include accidents, negligence and libel.

Family Law

Postings: 175

Issues such as divorce, paternity testing, child custody, child support, adoption and even some cases of child abuse are managed by law professionals trained in family law.

Constitutional Law

Postings: 177

Some countries have a 'jus commune' or law of the land in place of a written document of constitutional law, but these rules are what dictates the nature of the relations between an area and the regions (e.g. states) within it.

Human Rights Law

Postings: 47

Human rights laws make a country accountable for the basic rights of their civilians. As they are internationally recognized, these laws can be enforced on an international level as well as a domestic one. They include items protecting child rights, outlawing torture and genocide, etc.

Terrorism and National Security

Postings: 72

Anti-terrorism legislation is often created or revisited following an assassination or terror attack and tend to include avenues for a government to circumvent principles of freedom of speech and democracy in times of crisis, drawing much criticism.

Legal Research

Postings: 29

Effective research strategies using primary and secondary sources from a variety of formats are investigated in this section as well as techniques for accurate and appropriate legal writing.

Privacy Law

Postings: 6

These laws deal with individual rights to privacy and how government and other companies can collect, store and redistribute personal data.

Environmental Law

Postings: 1

Waste management, conservation and natural resource management all fall under environmental law, some of which is internationally recognized, some only domestically.

Sports Law

Postings: 0

Both amateur and professional athletes may find themselves entangled with sports law at some point in their careers as it deals with issues from defamation to contract negotiation, sometimes spanning many other sub-fields of law.

Animal Rights Law

Postings: 0

Based on the notion that animals are sentient creatures deserving of welfare considerations, animal rights laws aim to end the use of much of animal testing and all abuse as well as select farming and butchering processes, etc.

Law and Social Work

Postings: 7

This section looks at combining the fields of social work and law, including social-legal research techniques and ideas on managing issues such as mental health, fostercare/adoption and people with disabilities.

Class Action Law

Postings: 1

Cases of class action law being enacted are those in which a case is brought on behalf of a large number of plaintiffs or, conversely, in which an entire collection of defendants is sued where these groupings do not form a company.

Advocacy

Postings: 2

Further divisible into fields of appellate and trial advocacy, this is the practice of advising and representing a client in court and other legal matters.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Postings: 18

Settlements often occur as means for an accused party to avoid going to court and thus inviting large legal costs and potential shame. Though not a form of litigation, this mediation does have some legal requirements that are discussed in this section.

Property Law

Postings: 1

This section covers legislation and advocacy relating to the ownership and tenancy of real estate, usually coming under the umbrella of civil law.