The legal profession is a fast-changing environment, and new challenges arise quickly. Keeping up with the latest changes in the law and finding ways to benefit clients are critical to a firm’s success. One way to do so is through “new law.” While it can be difficult to define, new law generally refers to techniques that go beyond standard practice and include working with underserved communities, focusing on process and creating strategies that have not been a part of traditional law practice.
Law is created by a variety of sources, including statutes, case law, and regulations. Statutes are a collection of laws enacted by a legislature, while case law and regulations are written by courts or agencies. Some laws are consolidated into groups, called “statutory schemes,” that cover related subjects. For example, all federal statutes that govern employment discrimination are grouped together into Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
To find legal statutes, you can start by searching for the specific topic in a statute database such as Westlaw, LexisNexis, or HeinOnline. You can also find legal statutes in a legislative history, which is often found in the public library. Once you’ve identified a statute that addresses your question, you should note the number of the bill and its session. For example, a California statute may be labeled SB XXXIII, which indicates that it was passed in the 33rd session of the legislature.
Once a bill has become law, it is published in a book called the Session Laws. The text in this publication contains laws in the order that they were passed, and each law is identified by its original bill number. You can also find legal statutes in volumes that contain groups of laws relating to the same subject, such as a legislative history or a statutory scheme.
A law journal is a journal of legal scholarship, typically created by university law students and published by the college or law school. The journals are read by other legal scholars and professionals to determine the current state of knowledge on a particular subject. They are a key source of authority in legal research and help form the foundation of judicial decisions.
Articles in law journals must be cited according to the Bluebook. The citation format is AB (author’s last name, first initial) JB (article number) LC (law review). If a legal citation is not available, a citation to the introductory paragraph of the article is sufficient.
Scientists say that this new law will make it easier to study the medical and recreational use of marijuana. It requires the attorney general to report annually on whether the DEA-controlled marijuana supply is uninterrupted and adequate for researchers, and orders the NIH to produce a study by next year that examines whether barriers to studying cannabis exist in states where it has been legalized. The new law also includes a requirement that the federal government increase funding for scientific research in poorer, more rural states.