The summer season has begun, and we are reaching the midpoint of 2017 (can you believe it?).
So far, the business and political worlds have been shaken up by technological and industrial shifts. We have seen law firms and practices scrambling to keep up with the need for their expertise in rapidly developing sectors. Additionally, changes in administrative and regulatory law have affected different legal practice areas (making some “hot” and others “not”).
Based on the regulatory and technological environment and changes in consumer demand and industries, here are the five areas of legal practice that will be getting hotter this summer and for years to come:
You can’t talk about 2017 without talking about cyber security. Technology has brought both beneficial and deleterious impacts to businesses, and the need for lawyers with expertise in cyber security has continued to grow. The increased attention to hacking, data, and electronically stored information has even created niche areas in privacy and cyber/data security regulation.
Clients, particular those involved in financial services, those who work with the Federal Trade Commission, those in healthcare, and those in service sectors (including law firms) care because this implicates vast sums of confidential and serious information.
Our healthcare system has undergone a lot of shaking—and will face massive alterations and changes in regulations. This means that healthcare organizations and insurance companies will need to rely on outside counsel for guidance as they navigate whatever new regulatory structure arises for the remainder of the year.
In addition, healthcare is not going to stop growing as an industry: the population will continue to age (domestically and internationally), which will require more medical care. Specifically, two areas are seeing growth: addiction treatment and false claims. Substance abuse issues, addiction treatment exploded in the past 13 months, signaling that the behavioral health space will remain an active sector.
Remember when conducting business overseas used to be simple? (Okay…that was a joke).
Conducting businesses internationally has always been difficult and complicated. In addition, a change in administration, regulatory environment, and shifts throughout the globe means that the possibilities of retaliatory trade policies, trade wars, and industry shifts, combined with the fact that corporations will always look to overcome restrictions on trade, will keep sharp lawyers working.
International trade is an area that moves billions of dollars. The nature of globalization and emerging markets means increased competition and creativity, which makes for an exciting and evolving practice area to jump into.
Cannabis and Brewing
How many experts in marijuana do you know? What about experts marijuana law?
As cannabis becomes legalized in more states and the industry grows, the need for legal experts in cannabis will be growing. Something that used to be illegal is increasingly becoming legal, with conflicts between federal and state laws, which means plenty of regulatory work. You also have the tension between federal laws and state laws. Additionally, as this industry builds, legal needs for contracts, advising, litigation matters, and intellectual property has also arisen.
Craft beer and spirits have been in bolstered by consumer demand, and we have seen explosive growth in craft breweries and distilleries. This budding industry requires increasing licensing, corporate guidance, as well as insurance, risk management and regulatory services.