The technology revolution has ushered in a host of novel legal problems. The legal system is often ill-equipped to cope with the many ramifications of technological change in society. Since much of the law of the legal system evolved during the Middle Ages, it should not be surprising that many traditional legal concepts do not translate easily into a postindustrial world.
In a technologically oriented society, a number of legal issues have become identified as the field of computer and Internet law. Almost all lawyers have come face-to-face with the computer revolution in one way or another. Technological changes have totally restructured many aspects of the practice of law.
Lawyers use computers for preparing documents, maintaining files, and developing cases for court. And technology appears increasingly as a factor in many legal cases. For example, in many jurisdictions, court filings may be done online, and tools such as digital animation have been used to graphically illustrate evidence.
What this means is that lawyers must not only understand the technology for themselves, but they must become involved periodically in technological issues on behalf of their clients. Thus, every lawyer deals with computer law are some way at least periodically.
Additionally, some lawyers practice in the field of computer and Internet law extensively or even exclusively. These lawyers often possess qualifications in other arenas such as information science, mathematics, engineering, or some other computer-related field, in addition to training in the law.
Anyone contemplating a career in computer law should consider gaining educational credentials or practical experience in the computer industry to supplement a legal education.
Although the descriptions here are by no means exhaustive, they present an interesting overview of many of the problems that fit under the umbrella of computer law. Such classifications may seem somewhat arbitrary, but they provide a useful organization for the material in computer and internet law: computers in the courtroom, the computer industry, intellectual property, information resources and criminal law.
There is also some crossover between other parts of computer law and traditional fields of legal practice. The differences are significant enough and volume of work sufficient, however, to include the topic of computer law.