Understanding Law New
In a time when legal firms need to find new ways of providing help to clients without negatively impacting other areas that might be the primary focus of the firm, it is important for lawyers to be aware of laws that are “new.” A well thought out plan making use of these techniques can offer a new source of revenue and also allow firms to provide additional help to their clients while remaining focused on their primary business.
A good starting point for understanding law new is to understand that it encompasses all aspects of the legal system – not just court decisions, but legislative and administrative techniques as well. For example, the development of modern law schools required a change in what was considered to be the purpose of studying law. It was once viewed as merely training for a career in the practice of law. Today, however, the study of law is an academic discipline with its own scholarly literature and methods of inquiry.
Another feature of law new is its propensity to take a broad or global approach to legal issues. It is a result of the fact that legislators and administrators are not constrained to a case-by-case adjudication as is judicial decisionmaking. Instead, they are often called upon to respond to broad policy concerns – for example, the response to a national crisis such as the current fentanyl epidemic might be an expansion of access to drug testing resources in accordance with a legislative bill entitled Matthew’s Law (Assembly Bill A7273) and is named after Matthew Horan who died of a fatal fentanyl overdose in 2020.
The same sort of global or broad perspective can be seen in the formulation of regulatory statutes, which are usually described by their title and the number indicating how it was introduced in Congress, e.g. H.R. 10 or S. 42, and subsequently become public law if they are passed by the legislature and signed into law by the President.
In this sense, law is new not because the legal system itself has changed, but rather because of the way it has been conceived and understood. It is not until the conception of law changes that a true revolution in legal scholarship will occur. As the law is now conceived as being much more than just a set of rules governing the relations between people, but a fundamental social and moral system that embody widely held or transcendental values, then law scholarship will have to reflect that new conception. This will require an exploration of how law relates to people in a wider context than has been the case in the past. This will involve a fundamental transformation in the nature of legal scholarship and the study of law. It will be a new law for a new era.