New and unusual practice areas for lawyers

Want your fictional lawyer to handle more than DUIs, fender benders, and estates? Itching to let her branch out, or develop a sought-after specialty?

A national seminar producer has expanded its offerings lately, adding 1-2 hour teleconferences and webcasts to its usual live-and-in-person offerings. The shorter courses (called CLEs – said see-ell-ees in some states and klees in others) are just long enough to introduce a new practice area or address highly specialized topics. Here’s a few from my inbox:

Video Gaming Law 101: Expand Your Practice to Take on Digital Gaming Clients 

“Digital gaming is one of the world’s fastest growth industries – up 26 percent last year, even with the economic slowdown – and it is no surprise that where there is money, there are lawsuits. And with these digital gaming lawsuits comes a hotbed of legal issues and complexities that expand intellectual property law. Ensure that you are up to speed on the latest legislation, compliance pitfalls, trademark and contract issues so that you’re prepared for the next video game client that walks through your doors.” (Course description from NBI.)

Construction Defect Litigation: Discover the Key Elements That Can Make or Break a Construction Defect Case.

My firm’s noticed a decrease in construction claims with the downturn in building, but the claims are still out there.

Help Clients Navigate the Complexities of Wind Energy Law

Top Elder Care Planning Strategies

Similar specialties include Veterans’ benefits, Medicaid and Medicare issues, and of course, Social Security disability (SSI) claims.

Short Sales: Nuts & Bolts

I’ve noticed an increase in offerings on how to advise bankers, property owners, and investors on foreclosures, changes in lending laws, and related issues.

Collecting Condo Development & HOA Fees

I’m guessing this has gotten trickier with the rise in foreclosures, underwater mortgages, and unsold units.

Introduction to Animal Law: Discover the Law’s Reach on Animal Cruelty, Dog Bites, Pet Custody and More

Medical Marijuana Legal Issues

Hot topic, involving state and federal conflicts, who’s legally allowed to use, grow, and prescribe medical marijuana, and the rights and obligations of employers and landlords.

What Nonprofit Directors Need to Know: Legal Responsibilities and Best Practices

Advising nonprofits requires a broad range of knowledge, including director liability, director responsibility, tax issues, public disclosure, and employment issues, as well as laws governing the nonprofit’s activities.

Intellectual Property Basics

I’m seeing more and more CLEs, books, and articles on copyright, trademark, privacy, and other aspects of intellectual property law, all changing so rapidly.

Fracking: Land Lease Negotiations and Environmental Concerns

Even oil and gas lawyers didn’t learn this stuff in law school.

Litigating Public Transportation Accidents; Personal Injury: Daycare and Nursery Liability; and Police Liability

Not new areas, but potentially juicy specialties for your fictional litigator.

Fashion law is an emerging specialty I read about in lawyer Tricia Elam’s Washington Post essay, exploring her relationship with fashion and the profession: “Jurist prudence: Can women be fashionable dressers and lawyers?”  It includes intellectual property (counterfitting is a huge problem), and customs law, as well as contracts, labor, and franchise issues. And yes, there are pictures.

(Seminar titles and descriptions from NBI, National Business Institute.)

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