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Old 03-04-2013, 06:01 AM   #1
vicky_molokh
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Default Calling all lawyers! List of specific fields for Law

Greetings, all!

Anyone know what is the full list of fields for the Law skill? Basic mentions Constitutional, Contract, Criminal, Police, and I'm guessing that Administrative has to fit in there somewhere. However, it seems somehow incomplete. I remember once hearing that Marriage Contract & Divorce is a field of its own about as complicated as any one of the aforementioned ones, but I'm not sure if it was a lawyery in-joke.

I took 'International/Contract' to represent my PC's specialisation in sorts of stuff that involves contracts and business between companies that are commonly tangled due to belonging to different jurisdictions and thus commonly having to pick one, the other, or a third neutral one when an agreement has to be made, as well as the closest thing that seems to be to Duncanite approach to contracts. GM okayed it. But now I'm thinking whether he needs some other fields too. (Then again, maybe I'm better off just pushing one skill and pretending my tie is on fire.)

Thanks in advance!
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Last edited by vicky_molokh; 03-04-2013 at 06:51 AM.
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Old 03-04-2013, 06:08 AM   #2
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Default Re: Calling all lawyers! List of specific fields for Law

Different cultures have different fields of law, but perhaps this is a start:

http://www.lsac.org/jd/think/fields-of-law.asp
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Old 03-04-2013, 06:19 AM   #3
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Default Re: Calling all lawyers! List of specific fields for Law

Religious law has been an important speciality.
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Old 03-04-2013, 06:33 AM   #4
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Default Re: Calling all lawyers! List of specific fields for Law

Other common specialties are Aviation Law, Maritime Law and Military Law.
Some cultures have elaborate fields of law dealing with specific resources,
like for example Water Law, or specific cultural phenomena.
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Old 03-04-2013, 06:38 AM   #5
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Default Re: Calling all lawyers! List of specific fields for Law

Here's a couple list of specialties:
http://www.lsac.org/jd/think/fields-of-law.asp
http://lawschools.com/resources/law-career-specialties
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Old 03-04-2013, 07:11 AM   #6
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Default Re: Calling all lawyers! List of specific fields for Law

There exist a whole lot of fields, but not all of them are equally large. Some might fairly plausibly be treated as subfields within larger specialities.

The way the Icelandic legal system works, Police is not a valid separate speciality. It's mostly a subfield of Administrative law (or whatever you call your speciality dealing with public servants) with a few rules of thumb related to chain of evidence and suchlike that belongs in Criminal. Frankly, that last might just as well be a part of Law Enforcement skill, because 'don't do X and Y' is not really a function of full-blown Law skill. Most accurate within the current system would probably be to treat Law (Police) as an IQ/A Optional Specialisation of Law (Administrative), at least here in Iceland.

As regards your specific question in the first paragraph, Marriage and Divorce Law was taught alongside Inheritance Law and separately from both Contract Law and Property Law. It's a field that deals with dividing property and right between claimants, either according to a preexisting contract or legislative rules or rules of equity. Given that it's unlikely that a lawyer will become involved at all unless there is some doubt about the validity of the contract, I'd say that it would not be accurate to treat divorces as falling under Contract Law. It's closer to Property Law, but that's already a big enough field.

Maybe it would make sense for GURPS to just use the field of Family Law and Inheritance as a separate field where an Optional Specialisation in one or the other is fairly common.

As noted above, Property Law is a huge field that encompasses several fields that are individually at least as complex as the sum total of all the Law related to Police. A lot of Maritime Law as well as Water Law falls under it, for example. So do, in cultures that have them, things like Mining Law. In a manner of speaking, nearly all environmental law is a subset of property law as well, at least as it is structured here.

I'm not a huge fan of how GURPS treats the Law skill, but I've forgotten the scheme I thought up to replace it. It had some analogous to the way financial skills are handled in GURPS, though, with scholarly analysis being separate from day-to-day use of legal skills. Which in turn ought to be seperate from local knowledge.

In reality, someone who can think like a lawyer is at much less disadvantage when changing fields or jurisdictions than GURPS currently has it. He'll need extra time to find relevant local precedents and suchlike, yes, but he'll be able to write and interpret clauses in contracts with almost the same facility, for example. At the very least, characters ought to specialise in the form of legal system and treat individual national legal systems within those as familiarities for many (not all) purposes. And while specialist lawyers do exist, the current rules make little allowance for the fact that a lot of Administrative or Criminal cases turn on Constitutional grounds and so forth. The fields are very interrelated.
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Old 03-04-2013, 08:22 AM   #7
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Default Re: Calling all lawyers! List of specific fields for Law

You're probably better off to turn the question around a little bit.

How many specializations do you think there should be? This number will define the resolution level you use for defining a field as opposed to subfield.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:54 AM   #8
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Default Re: Calling all lawyers! List of specific fields for Law

Well...

In America, I'd probably not bother separating Police and Criminal. Functionally, they are the same thing, however, the level of knowledge that police need to do their jobs vs. the level of knowledge a defense lawyer needs are quite different. Regardless, they are the same laws and concepts.

You could go hugely broad and say "Litigation" vs "Dealmaking" (aka Transacational). That's probably not what you want.

You could also get rather specific--just look at any big firm's list of practice areas. For example, http://www.klgates.com/services/xpuS...ST=ServiceList is particularly helpful, because it has larger categories that then are broken down even more.

Another example would be http://www.perkinscoie.com/services/...grouplist.aspx.

Basically, it depends on how granular you want to get. I am a "consumer protection attorney." But my knowledge of American law is far broader, and most importantly, I'm trained to be able to figure out almost any new area of law (given time...how much time depends on the complexity of the field). This means I do a lot of contracts-like stuff, but breaking it down further is possible: I could specialize in unfair debt collection, or bankruptcy, or mortgage lawsuits...

It just depends on what you want.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:56 AM   #9
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Default Re: Calling all lawyers! List of specific fields for Law

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
In reality, someone who can think like a lawyer is at much less disadvantage when changing fields or jurisdictions than GURPS currently has it. He'll need extra time to find relevant local precedents and suchlike, yes, but he'll be able to write and interpret clauses in contracts with almost the same facility, for example. At the very least, characters ought to specialise in the form of legal system and treat individual national legal systems within those as familiarities for many (not all) purposes. And while specialist lawyers do exist, the current rules make little allowance for the fact that a lot of Administrative or Criminal cases turn on Constitutional grounds and so forth. The fields are very interrelated.
This. Law should probably require a specialization by country or legal system, but all other fields should be optional specialities. Actually, strike that. I'd treat them as Techniques. Some would be Average techniques (arguably my own field isn't that hard), some would be Hard (admiralty law, I've heard, is very complex). Regardless, I'd let the individual fields default to Law, but have a maximum level of Default+4. In fact, I really like that idea.
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Old 03-04-2013, 03:06 PM   #10
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Default Re: Calling all lawyers! List of specific fields for Law

My professor of Foundation law claimed that Anti-trust law was a field that required constant updating, making it almost impenetrable for anyone but a full-time expert. Same goes for corporate law. Some fields, however, remain very static. The central crime law in Sweden hasn't changed all that much since 1965, and the biggest change after that came in 2011 by way of the Swedish supreme court. Material law is also pretty static, if complicated.

Also, much like Apoc wrote, law school doesn't teach you the law so much as it teaches you how to understand a legal system. You could drop me or any of my classmates in front of just about any law and we could get a pretty good idea of how to implement it after a little checking of court rulings and comments. Unless it's the Handelsbalk. Nobody likes the Handelsbalk.
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