As the legal world changes quickly, the way that lawyers work must change with it. One of the ways that many firms are approaching this issue is through a practice called “new law.” This is a very broad term that can mean anything from working with underserved communities to coming up with strategies that would not have been available to a firm in the past. It can also mean embracing technology, using a different type of fee structure and focusing on processes rather than simply delivering services to clients.
A good example of new law in action can be found in the city of New York. The legislation there known as Matthew’s Law is aimed at making drug testing supplies easier to access in an effort to decrease the number of accidental fentanyl overdose deaths. This bill is part of a larger set of laws that has been signed into effect by Gov. Kathy Hochul to deal with issues ranging from workers rights to school resources.
Among the many other bills that have been passed by the city, one requires NYCHA to notify residents within 24 hours of a data breach that may include their private information. Another requires NYC agencies to provide information about federal and state student loan forgiveness programs to employees and job applicants. This legislation is in response to the escalating heroin and opioid crisis in New York.
While the concept of new law is a broad one, it’s a concept that all legal firms should take a close look at and understand how to use to their advantage. A well thought out plan utilizing new law techniques can offer the help that some clients need without impacting other areas of legal practice that might be the primary focus of a firm’s business. That’s a win-win for everyone. The idea is that this approach can lead to the growth of a firm while offering a way to help more people than might otherwise be possible. That’s a good thing. It also means that more people have a chance to get the legal assistance they need.