4 Emerging Legal Practice Areas to Watch For

The market for legal services is dynamic and ever-changing, mainly due to shifting behaviors and technological advancements. As 2022 progresses, there are four practice areas in particular that have emerged. While the pandemic contributed to some of them, others are the result of social, technological, and environmental factors that have changed the way we invest, relax, and even conduct business.

Practice Area #1: Cannabis

Thirty-seven states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S Virgin Islands regulate the use of medical marijuana. Eighteen states, the District of Columbia, and Guam also allow adults to legally use it for recreational purposes. The number of businesses that have appeared to support these emerging markets, such as growers, processors, and dispensaries, have created a demand for lawyers who understand the rapidly-evolving area of cannabis law.

For many years, the vast majority of cannabis law work revolved around criminal defense. Today, cannabis attorneys from almost every area of law are in high demand. Generally speaking, a cannabis lawyer assists individuals and entities in the industry with startup procedures, compliance and transactional requirements, licensing acquisition and defense, and other related issues. As the decriminalization of marijuana continues, the need for legal support will only increase. 

Practice Area #2: NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens)

A non-fungible token (NFT) is a cryptographic asset on a blockchain with a unique identification code and metadata that determine its identity. Unlike cryptocurrencies, NFTs cannot be traded or exchanged at parity. 

Currently, the market for NFTs is dominated by collectibles, such as digital artwork, sports cards, and rare items. Theoretically, any creative endeavor can be tokenized or “NFT’d” and sold for high prices: a record-breaking $69 million was paid for Beeple’s digital art, Everydays: The First 5,000 Days.

For businesses, NFTs present both opportunities and risks related to the monetization of their intellectual property rights and the chance that those rights will be misused. Lawyers who already practice IP and copyright law may want to look into this fast-growing practice area.

Practice Area #3: Cryptocurrency

Blockchain technology and other digital assets are reshaping the global business landscape and their potential is being felt across numerous industries, including financial services, capital markets, real estate, IP law, corporate transactions, and much more.

Since Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies emerged as an alternative asset class capable of extraordinary returns, investor interest in digital assets has also increased dramatically. The result is a demand for lawyers who can advise trading and lending platforms, investment managers, software developers, and institutional investors as they deal in cryptocurrencies.

Practice Area #4: Space Law

As its name indicates, space law governs space-related activities. It consists of a variety of international agreements, treaties, conventions, and resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly, as well as rules and regulations of international organizations.

With the development of the commercial space industry, attorneys who specialize in space law are in high demand. Start-ups and larger companies alike need legal advice to ensure that their activities comply with applicable laws. Lawyers can also help them prepare license applications, contracts, and other documents needed to conduct their business.


The practice of law is always evolving thanks to new influences such as technology. If you’re considering next steps for both your law firm and your legal career, these four emerging practice areas are definitely worth looking into.

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