In a profession as competitive as the law, firms seek ways to grow their business by leveraging new technologies, finding innovative strategies for reaching clients and deploying staff in different ways. For some, these changes go by the moniker “law new.” However, the term can be hard to pin down, and its practical applications differ from firm to firm.
For example, in some cases, law new refers to the introduction of a specific legal practice area, such as corporate restructuring or employment litigation. In other instances, it may refer to new business lines such as intellectual property or real estate. Still, it often applies to a firm’s approach to client service, particularly when its lawyers try to find unique ways to work with their existing clients and expand their relationships with them.
Another definition of law new includes new laws that change existing laws, which is a key area of the legal landscape. For instance, when the Supreme Court overturned its non-retroactivity doctrine, it introduced a law new that affects a broad range of pending legal issues. It also shifted the way that courts review constitutional questions and affirmed the power of lower court judges to interpret statutes and other laws as they see fit.
As legal scholars have re-examined the constitutional and economic foundations of our administrative state, they have sought a law new to reflect that reality. This effort is a natural response to the demands of a changing legal environment, and it’s certainly worth continuing. However, it’s important to remember that no new conceptual system can be developed out of thin air. If legal scholarship is to be relevant, it must be able to operate within existing academic institutions and skillsets.
In the case of federal legislation, a law new may be a piece of legislation that is introduced in Congress and then passes both houses of Congress. These proposals are known as legislative bills and are assigned a number in the order they are introduced in each house. When a bill is approved by both houses and signed by the president, it becomes a public law or statute.
A new law might be a piece of legislation that requires a particular action or prohibits a certain activity, such as requiring civil rights protection or regulating the activities of not-for-profit legal entities, political parties and religious communities. A law might also be a rule or regulation that governs the conduct of local governments.
Finally, a law could be a legislative proposal that is currently under consideration by a committee in the legislature or in the executive branch, such as a proposed constitutional amendment or a bill to amend a statute. A bill is in draft form when it is a legislative proposal and is a private bill when it is not under consideration by either branch of government. A bill can be a public law when it is approved by both the House of Representatives and the Senate and signed into law by the president.