As we reflect upon 2022, it’s clear that the legal industry went through major upheavals due to the ongoing pandemic and recession. Law firms that were able to adapt and capitalize on growing legal practice areas saw immense success, which came with its fair share of competition as legal departments and firms shifted their focus from survival to long-term and lasting growth. The past year brought to light several new and expanding legal practice areas, as well as disciplines that proved to be resistant to recession. It’s important to note that the changes in growth trajectories for different areas of law were a direct result of the shifting demand for legal services throughout the pandemic and recession. In retrospect, 2022 was a year of transformation for the legal industry.
5 Emerging Legal Practice areas in 2022
1. Media Law
One advantage of a career in media law is how contemporary it is. You may anticipate seeing the things you work on in the news and everywhere around you, including on billboards, in stores, and even on television, because the world of media moves so quickly. The world of streaming and content-driven business is a competitive one as it looks for all types of trades and transactions. The media law controls what can be broadcasted and published. Censorship, the defamation tort, and privacy are a few of the components of media law. Intellectual property law is related to this field of law as well (i.e. issues such as copyright and ownership).
If you want to pursue this career route, it is vital to have work experience with media law firms or media companies (whether gaming, journalism, theatre, or other forms of media). This is because doing so enables you to grow your industry knowledge, which is essential for finding a job. You may also wish to start a blog to keep track of advancements in your field of interest, or gain work experience in that field to learn both the practical and legal aspects. Knights PLC, a London-based law firm advises clients in media law including those in entertainment, broadcasting and gaming, across the full range of legal services including production agreements, advertising and sponsorship agreements, ASA complaints, defamation and brand and trademark management.
2. Employment Law
During the pandemic, there has been massive hiring and firing, and indiscriminate violation of labour and employment laws throughout the globe. Thus, the demand for employment and HR lawyers has grown. Employment law is concerned with legal issues that affect both employees and employers. Employment lawyers frequently handle concerns including employment discrimination, sexual harassment, workplace safety, the right to unionize, child labour legislation, wrongful terminations, and wage disputes.
If you want to work as an employment lawyer, you can prepare by taking courses, practising with chambers lawyers, law firms or by specialising through a postgraduate course. Employment and labour issues are often in news and thus regularly reading the news would also be an added advantage.. Ahlawat and Associates is a niche law firm in India specialising in employment and HR Laws and has vast experience in labour law services and moulding the client’s global policies to meet the Indian requirements and ensure that the companies are fully compliance with the employment law and labour laws.
3. Blockchain Law
Bitcoin and blockchain technology entered the zeitgeist significantly last year. Attorneys who are knowledgeable about the subject will become more and more useful as more individuals start to understand these technologies. Your prospects are sure to increase if you can enter this professional area early.
Anyone looking to implement blockchain-based solutions in the real world, whether they are a start-up, an existing company, a family business, a non-profit organization, or just an enthusiast, they will require assistance navigating the regulatory minefield.
Legal professionals can look for careers in blockchain in areas such as policy development, analysis, cryptographic protocol audit, compliance, representation/litigation, crypto forensics, and more. Yulex Attorneys and Strategists, LLP is a law firm based out of Canada that provides specialised advisory in cryptocurrency and blockchain-based disputes and investments.
4. Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) Law
ESG aspects, in general, are growing concerns about climate change in particular have occupied a central place in business. Sustainability is a top priority for governments and private markets everywhere. The demand for environmental lawyers has significantly expanded as a result of growing acknowledgement of ESG as a commercial necessity. ESG has long been a feature of corporate life, but up until recently, environmental and social concerns were essentially the domain of law firm specialised practises like, environmental organisations. Today, however, we observe an expansion of ESG-related legal issues across many practise areas, including M&A, litigation, and regulation.
It is crucial for ESG lawyers to develop their skill sets in legal investigative work, due diligence analytical methodology, evidence-based assessment, and advocacy if they want to be considered as an ESG lawyer. These skills allow lawyers to comprehend and assess the risks (and opportunities) associated with any investment or legal dispute from an ESG perspective. An Australia-based law firm Mills Oakley advises primarily on environmental law issues to its clients including companies, governments and NGOs. They also provide dispute resolution services for the resolution of any concerning disputes and litigations.
5. Privacy and Cybersecurity Law
The necessity for legal rules and laws to safeguard individuals will only increase as technology develops. Rapid technology advancements frequently exceed the time needed to establish appropriate regulatory requirements. Technology corporations’ practises in relation to user privacy rights and the commercialization of user data have come under growing criticism. In a different context, as cyberattacks and threats increase in sophistication, cost, and frequency, it becomes more important to balance risks, corporate interests, and individual liberties. As a result, both individuals and organizations now have serious concerns about privacy and security risk. As this timing and procedure develop, there is a huge market for lawyers in this area.
To become a privacy lawyer, a professional can do certifications in privacy and cybersecurity laws, attend conferences, and join technology companies. Lawyers should also subscribe to newsletters to update themselves on any new legislation that may be coming up in the privacy and cybersecurity field.
Lawyers must keep up with the latest developments in the law as the legal profession develops and changes with time. It can be challenging for lawyers to stay on top of the most recent trends in the legal sector.
But invention never takes place in a vacuum. These five practise areas will carry on expanding and branching out. The fundamentals and principles of how social, economic, technological, and environmental problems might impact the law are important for lawyers to comprehend. Lawyers can respond to any circumstance by staying up-to-date with changing regulations.
Additionally, lawyers can readily stay up-to-date by connecting with their peers and continuing their education through law reports. Therefore, being a part of a community that allows regular exchange between lawyers is important. Interlegal is a similar space which is works in a cooperative environment to enable the clients to pool in into the network of lawyers and law firms across the globe. There are also regular exchanges between lawyers and interns of the members of Interlegal which provides the necessary mentoring.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I become a specialised lawyer?
Yes. It is possible to specialise in a field of law to become a specialised niche lawyer. Presently, there are several niche fields that require lawyers with very specific skill sets and knowledge.
2. Can I practice generalist law and still have access to growing areas of law?
Yes. There is no compulsion for lawyers to specialise in law and they can practice generally too.
3. What are the values of a lawyer?
Passion for your job, ability to put yourself in your client’s shoes i.e., perspective and the ability to work under pressure are the some of the basic values that a lawyer should have in them.
4. How to stay updated and become a part of big networks?
Join communities like Interlegal which have a massive network base of lawyers all across the world and stay updated through peer networking. Apart from that lawyers should also participate in conferences and subscribe to relevant blogs for staying informed on the underlying and ongoing issues and legislations.