Five Obscure Law Fields
- Student Tips
When you sit back and think about it, laws apply to nearly every aspect of modern life. There are laws that regulate the stuffing in your pillows, the additives in your food, the number of windows in your apartment, and the number of cars that drive on your street. When you buy things, operate things, create things, and enter into contracts with things (and people), you engage with various laws. And while many of these laws fall under familiar fields like real estate law, civil law, health and safety laws, and intellectual property law, there are others that are more obscure but just as interesting and necessary. So, whether you want to explore the legal side of a hobby or interest, or are looking to challenge yourself in a very specific area of the law, start by considering these five little-known law fields.
1. Equine Law
You're probably already familiar with some of the aspects of animal law, but did you know that there is an entire field of law dedicated to horses? Due to the ways in which humans interact with horses, equine law is highly specialized and includes business law, animal law, sports law, and other areas. Equine lawyers should have both a thorough understanding of the law and specific knowledge of horses and their role in society, business, leisure, and industry. A lawyer who specializes in equine law might deal in transfer agreements, sales, tax, and immigration, but may also represent equine associations, farmers, or hobbyists. Equine lawyers might also find themselves dealing with animal rights cases, international regulations, and veterinary medicine.
2. Fashion Law
Anyone who's seen The Devil Wears Prada knows that a blue sweater is never just a blue sweater but rather a representation of 'millions of dollars and countless jobs.' Indeed, the fashion industry is a major player in the world's economy, and as such requires dedicated legal professionals who can address issues ranging from intellectual property rights to trade agreements and corporate structure. Fashion law which falls under “Droit de luxe,” or luxury law, is anything but frivolous. Alongside trade, business, and trademark law, lawyers specializing in fashion law could find themselves working on laws regulating model contracts and appearance, or tackling human rights issues related to production and supply-chains.
3. Aviation Law
Aviation law has roots in ancient Roman legal structures and the first law pertaining directly to aircraft was written in 1784 (it regulated the use of hot air balloons in Paris). Modern aviation law is more commonly associated with air travel and aircraft, and while some of the areas of aviation law fall under admiralty law, the field includes aspects of business law, federal and international law, and civil law. Lawyers working in aviation law might represent individuals who have been wronged or injured during commercial air travel, but they could also deal in airline management issues, international disputes, criminal cases, and the growing field of drone regulation. And if normal aviation isn't exciting enough for you, consider building on your aviation expertise and launching yourself into space law!
4. Cryptography Law
Our society's reliance on technology depends in large part on our ability to protect and encrypt information. It's no surprise then that cryptography, or the practice of securing information, has it's own branch of the law. Lawyers specializing in cryptography will likely concentrate on legislations related to how information is encrypted and the legality surrounding the means and instances in which information can be obtained. The field of cryptology law is gaining attention as high-profile cases, like the recent FBI-Apple encryption dispute, highlight the issues surrounding personal rights versus national (and international) security.
5. Transgender Law
This is another area of the law that has had a lot of recent media attention. Gender and sexuality are, perhaps, the greatest civil rights issues facing our generation and the laws surrounding marriage, gender identity, discrimination, self-expression, public access, and health care are evolving rapidly and make a big impact on society. Lawyers who specialize in gender and transgender issues will find themselves embroiled in a variety of cases ranging from civil disputes to criminal cases and beyond. There are opportunities for careers in both legislation and private practice, and while the field is not an easy one, the fast-paced and ever-changing nature of the field makes it an exciting challenge for lawyers who want to apply their skills to making a real difference in society.
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