Law new can mean a lot of things, from the latest legal technology to innovative ways to deliver legal services. It can also refer to the new types of clients that are served, such as the growing number of small businesses and individuals who use a variety of online platforms to obtain legal help. It could also mean the emergence of non-traditional fee structures, such as flat fees or hourly rates. A well thought out plan utilizing these methods can help a legal firm serve the needs of new types of clients without impacting other areas of practice that might be the primary focus for a particular firm.
New law can be a difficult concept to define. At BU Law, we use the term to refer to legal research techniques that are innovative and creative. It is important for lawyers to understand and be aware of these techniques because they can help them provide valuable legal services to a diverse client base.
For a law to be effective, it must be implemented in a way that will actually influence behavior. Implementation research is a branch of legal scholarship that seeks to understand the “transformation process” between the law as it exists on the books and the law that is put into effect by legal agents charged with enforcing it (Percy 1989).
Legal scholars in this field are often called legal social scientists, and they study not just the laws themselves but how those laws affect our daily lives. They analyze the factors that influence whether a law will be implemented effectively, such as the attitudes and management methods of the agencies charged with enforcement; the capacities, resources, and methods of implementing officials; the ways in which legal rules are interpreted and applied by individual citizens; and the relationship between a law and broader community norms.
In addition to the traditional scholarly tools of qualitative and quantitative analysis, legal social science has developed many new techniques for investigating the impact of law on people’s lives. These include case studies, document analysis, focus groups, ethnographies, and interviews. Legal social scientists use these new methods to investigate the complex interplay between the law, its implementing agencies, and those who are affected by it.
The legal field has changed dramatically over the past few decades. New technology, shifting demographics, changing economics, and rapid advancements in other fields have led to a wide range of law innovations. Some of these changes are simply the result of a changing society, while others reflect new needs and interests in specific markets.
As these trends continue, law will change in response to the demands of a changing world. The legal academy must be prepared to help shape the law’s future direction by conducting innovative, practical research. BU Law’s distinguished faculty includes leading legal scholars across many specialties, publishing in prestigious academic presses and presenting their work at conferences worldwide. They are also highly sought after as professors and lecturers, mentoring tomorrow’s attorneys.