These days, lawyers specializing in disputes in the banking sector, real estate, and information technology are considered the most in-demand. The demand for lawyers in the IT industry has been growing steadily in recent years. Traditionally the work of a lawyer in the field of IT comes down to defending rights in the development, installation, and maintenance of software, storage, and sharing of data on servers and websites.
But the boundaries of the legal field are gradually expanding and now cover the legal relations of citizens in the electronic exchange of information, communication in social networks, creating business models on the Internet, and other technologically innovative products. The simultaneous development of digital technologies and related changes in legislation open up great prospects for modern lawyers. Both for those who are already IT professionals and for those who are only going to improve their knowledge in this area.
Is an IT lawyer a narrow specialist?
As a rule, large legal companies like Maritime law divide their employees depending on their narrow specialization in a particular area of law. But the reality is that the legislation in various fields of law is not much different from the legal regulation of the IT technology, or to be more precise, has much in common with it. However, quite often it is not enough to have only a general idea of the laws in this area, and therefore there is a need for special legal knowledge.
Many IT lawyers mainly practice commercial law in the digital context. They offer their services in solving specific legal problems in IT infrastructures, cloud services, SaaS agreements, software development, and licensing. A significant part of IT lawyers specialize even more narrowly and provide services specifically for intellectual property monitoring, licensing, and protection. Lawyers who focus on honing their skills and gaining practical experience in specific IT issues may later become quite valuable specialists, whose services will be used, for example, by online stores or companies – software developers who create and sell IT products.
Another area of IT law that is becoming more and more demanded, but is associated with a more complex legal regulation is cyber law. The Internet has become a major platform for the creation, conduct, and development of major business projects. Modern legislation does not yet regulate this new sphere in sufficient detail, taking as a basis international experience and existing international legislation.
In cyberspace, both specific offenses, such as violation of intellectual property rights (copyrights, patent rights, rights to secret production), and “common crimes” – fraud, extortion, illegal entrepreneurship, etc. are committed. At the same time, large companies must create such a reliable protection of IT systems that store confidential data, so that such systems can resist cyber-attacks.
Lawyer in the age of technology
As such, there is no separate branch of IT law as yet. Lawyers who have chosen this field have to be knowledgeable in several areas of law at once: contract law, intellectual property law, personal data protection regulation, storage and transfer of information, including in electronic form. Many firms are already beginning to create IT law departments or employ IT lawyers. Law firms are also emerging to provide solely cybersecurity services, and major universities are establishing departments to train cyberlaw specialists.
In the age of technology, there are great opportunities for a lawyer with IT expertise. There is almost no competition among such specialists because there are few of them, and their experience and knowledge are invaluable.