Branches of Law
Paralegal programs introduce students to the major branches of law. This article gives a brief overview of major branches and a few smaller but influential ones discussed in an online paralegal degree program as well.
- Administrative Law is the body of law that governs federal and state agencies created by Congress, state legislatures, or acts of law. Examples include the Social Security Administration and state agencies that provide benefits to low-income persons such as Medicaid.
- Banking and Finance Law encompasses federal and state laws that regulate banks and other financial institutions. These include enforcement actions, tax law, bank mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcy, commercial paper, secured financing, real estate and issues related to the Uniform Commercial Code.
- Bankruptcy Law provides legal methods for businesses and individuals to wipe out debt by liquidating assets and distributing them to debtors. There are two types of bankruptcy proceedings: Chapter 7 of the United States Code, also called “straight bankruptcy,” in which assets are liquidated, and “debtor rehabilitation,” which involves restructuring debts and paying them over time. These are governed by Chapters 9, 11, 12, and 13 of the U.S. Code.
- Civil Litigation covers all lawsuits brought by private parties. Examples are divorce, personal injury, products liability, and employment-related lawsuits.
- Civil Rights Law protects the rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution as they are upheld and further defined by courts. Examples include the freedom of speech, the right to vote, and the right to receive services in public places. Congress has passed several pieces of legislation that expand on the Constitution’s guarantees, notably the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the Equal Pay Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Corporate Law focuses on laws that address corporate operations and practices. Businesses are governed by state laws and federal laws that address consumer protections, contracts, antitrust, labor and employment, and securities, to name just a few.
- Criminal law involves charges brought against persons or corporations by federal, state, and local governments. Defendants are represented by private attorneys specializing in criminal law, agencies such as Legal Aid Societies, or by public defenders assigned by judges.
- Environmental Law addresses business activities that impact the physical environment. Examples include lawsuits brought by governments and private parties against corporations they accuse of harming the community, and real estate transactions that require environmental assessments.
- Family Law addresses legal issues that impact families, including divorce, child custody, adoption, prenuptial agreements, wills and trusts, and estate planning.
- Health Care Law is one of the fastest-growing legal fields. It addresses issues that arise from conflicts between health insurers and members/patients; patient rights to treatment or to stop treatment; medical powers of attorney, and patient privacy issues.
- Immigration Law addresses the complex set of laws that govern the movement of persons into and from the United States. It impacts topics such as employment, family relations, residency, education, and access to health care. It represents another rapidly-growing field.
Anthem College Online offers an Associate of Science degree in Paralegal. If you think you might be interested in a paralegal career and work in one of these fields, visit our site or call 1.866.837.1010.
Source: “Law Career Specialties.” Lawschools.com