When the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1, 2023, state laws that had been introduced in the preceding year silently went into effect for the first time. The new laws ranged from quirky to serious, and many of them address subjects that are dominating American discourse. Among them: pig farming, abortion restrictions, wage increases, and police reform.
In Iowa, a bill passed that will prohibit employers from asking job applicants about their past criminal record. It’s the latest step in a state that has already passed laws to make it harder for people to obtain guns and prohibit employers from using background checks to hire workers.
The bill is named for Gus “Jett” Hawkins, a young Black student who was punished at school for wearing his hair in braids, despite being allowed to keep it in other classes. His mother launched a campaign, saying stigmatizing the style could harm his educational development. Gov. JB Pritzker signed the legislation, known as Jett Hawkins Law, last summer.
New York is requiring third-party food delivery services to register and be licensed before offering their services in the City. The law, which is expected to go into effect in the fall of 2025, would also repeal a subchapter in the Administrative Code that contains existing laws regulating third-party food delivery services and will incorporate those requirements into this new law.
A new law in North Carolina will make it tougher for governors to declare states of emergency, making it more difficult to use the measure to limit voting rights and other civil liberties during a pandemic. The law, which takes effect Saturday, will require a majority of executive officials to support the declaration and require a longer duration for a state of emergency that lasts more than 30 days.
As law firms continue to struggle with declining revenue and increasing competition, they must find creative ways to expand their offerings. One approach is a strategy called “law new” – a term that describes a legal service that’s not traditional law firm practice but instead uses elements of the legal landscape to provide better help and deliver more impact. This concept can be explored by firms with a variety of skill sets and business models, and it has the potential to become a valuable source of income and client satisfaction for both solo and small-firm lawyers. The key is to understand how to create and implement a plan that makes use of this idea without negatively affecting the primary areas of practice that each firm focuses on. This requires a thoughtful approach and some experimentation. The most successful law firms will use this concept to their advantage. They will harness the ideas inherent in it to generate revenue and increase client satisfaction, while also generating value for their own firms and the industry as a whole. This is the true meaning of law new.