Being a lawyer is a full-time job. This is no mere turn-of-phrase, either. Even when not on the clock you need to be acutely aware of the legal parameters in which you work and the changes that are always simmering under the surface. The legal landscape today will be very different five years from now. Likewise, many changes have been made over the past few decades throughout the United States’ complex history. Legal research websites are a useful resource to help budding lawyers and experienced lawyers alike stay up-to-date on changing laws as well as federal legislative history.
To study law is to intrinsically know your country’s history and all the minor and major changes it’s gone through to look after its people. Legal research websites make this easier than ever. It’s been more than 200 years since the creation of the Constitution. As of today there have also been 27 constitutional amendments. The Congress and the Senate provide different functions to see laws passed. With over 300 million people in the country and counting, these decisions have a massive impact.
The Senate is composed of 100 members, with two representing each state regardless of the population density or particular area. They are elected democratically as dictated by the 17th Amendment in the Constitution. There are requirements for an individual to qualify for the Senate. A Senator must be at least 30 years old, for starters, and a citizen of the United States for at least nine years. They must also still be an inhabitant of the state for which they apply. The term of office is six years and one-third of the Senate’s entirety are elected every second year.
As of now there are over 300 bills waiting for Senate action. For a proposed amendment to go through Congress it first needs to be approved by at least three-fourths of the states. This has held fast for more than 100 years, with state courts looking to evidence of legislative intent as they passed law after state law. Not everything has been a smooth process, however. California’s imitative process has been criticized as flawed for many years. It saw a notable change established in 2015 where a proposal needed at least 25% of signatures just to reach the ballot.
Once a bill passes the President is given just 10 days to either sign or veto the enrolled bill. The percentage of bills able to be enacted by Congress in the first year is 33%. Although many laws are nationwide and affect an individual no matter where they are, most states have unique local laws that need to be obeyed for the duration of a person’s stay. The BAC (or blood alcohol content) required for a conviction is different in Utah than it is in the rest of the states, for example, set at 0.05% than the standard 0.08%.
When you decide to pursue law as a career field you have many areas of study to focus in. Some lawyers focus in personal injury, while others specialize in car accidents, domestic violence or copyright infringement. As of 2012 there were over one million American men and women working as licensed lawyers. A study provided by the American Bar Association (also known as the ABA) revealed a notable gender disparity back in 2005, with 70% of lawyers being men and 30% being women.
Legal research tools found through reliable legal research websites are a necessary tool in your proverbial toolbox. Even complicated or unknown history can be parsed through and better understood as you move through your studies toward a career that is powerful, meaningful and long-reaching.