Colby Wegman is the Founder of Wegman Partners, a legal search firm that places candidates up to the partner level nationally. Below, Colby Wegman discusses four of the fastest-growing law practice areas based on what the firm is seeing in terms of growth and demand for qualified staff.
Wegman Partners notes that in light of recent legal changes in the United States, four specific practice areas have seen explosive growth in just a few years. This is spurred by growth in other industries, as well as population shifts and changes to federal and state laws. Areas such as cyberlaw, cannabis law, immigration law, and elder law have all seen major growth.
Colby Wegman of Wegman Partners says the growth of certain law practice areas is often driven by larger trends throughout the nation. Let’s take a look at some of the most recent shifts and explore how they’ve influenced the growth of a select few legal practice areas.
Recent Shifts in the United States
Wegman Partners explains that there’s no denying the United States is going through a major transition in both cultural and political magnitudes. These shifts are largely being driven by the following factors:
- Changing population dynamics – As the Baby Boomers continue to age into retirement, they’re quickly being replaced by Gen X and Millennials. Today, they require specific geriatric needs, both physical and legal.
- Changing political opinions – Beyond the obvious political animosities, the U.S. has seen major shifts in how it views important topics such as legalized marijuana, LGBTQ rights, infrastructure, and the need for efficient tax codes.
- Digitalization – Compared to just a decade ago, the Internet has grown to accommodate more than half the world’s population, up from a mere 2.4 billion users in 2012.
A changing world presents new opportunities for business and law, as we’ve seen in the growth of specific legal practices.
4 Fastest-Growing Legal Practice Areas
Wegman Partners explains that the following four legal practice areas have all seen massive growth in the past few years. Explore each to learn how they’ve grown and what’s prompted their expansion.
As the Internet continues to expand at an exponential rate, there’s a growing demand for comprehensive cyber law. Wegman Partners reports that most lawyers practicing cyber law have experience with both tech and legal, working for tech companies or as IT advisors. Cyberlaw is intended to protect the digital world, including:
- How the Internet is used
- Online privacy rights
- Digital copyright laws
One of the fastest-growing fields within cyber law is cybersecurity according to Colby Wegman. Cybersecurity attorneys advise clients on how to protect their computer networks and electronic data from unauthorized access or theft. They may also help clients respond to cyberattacks and mitigate the damage caused by them. If a client is compromised, they can initiate legal action against the offending parties.
After California first legalized cannabis for medical use in 1996, state laws have progressively shifted towards more tolerant stances and, as of 2022, 18 states plus the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana use. Wegman Partners explains that this shift has created a national cannabis industry as well as opportunities for lawyers to jump on board the regulation process.
Cannabis law covers a wide range of topics, including:
- The regulation of cannabis products, both medical and recreational
- Regulation of distribution and sales internally and across state lines
- Regulation of how cannabis can be used, stored, and produced
Seeing as marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, many cannabis lawyers fight for their clients’ rights to grow and distribute marijuana under new state laws. This also includes interstate distribution and sales.
Wegman Partners reports that there are a number of reasons why immigration law has become more popular in recent years. One reason is that undocumented immigration has become a more pressing issue in the public consciousness. There have been an increasing number of people crossing the US-Mexico border illegally, and this has led to more debate about how to handle immigration.
Today, immigration lawyers mainly often focus on:
- Prosecuting or protecting undocumented immigrants
- Amending or tightening immigration laws
- Process visa applications
Immigration law is highly politicized and can take its stance on either side of the political spectrum. For this reason, it’s often viewed as a steppingstone into politics.
Wegman Partners explains that elder law has become increasingly more important in recent years for a handful of reasons. First is that the American population has grown older as Baby Boomers reach retirement age. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of Americans aged 55+ has grown by 27% compared to a meager 1.3% among younger populations.
This population shift has refocused many lawyers’ attention into elder law, says Colby Wegman. Elder law is focused on:
- Retirement planning
- Estate planning
- Long-term care planning
- Elder abuse
- Medicare and Medicaid issues
As more and more Americans reach their twilight years, elder law is expected to grow at a shocking rate. It will require a massive workforce of specialized lawyers to handle but shows promise as a new legal frontier.
The largest legal practices often mirror major trends throughout the world. As digital security, population dynamics, and political optics continue to shift, new legal arenas will continue to grow and develop. For more information follow the Wegman Partners Lawsuit blog, which looks at trends in litigation by practice area.