Take nanotechnology, for example. Although in the early stages of development, this emerging science could one day be used to treat a wide variety of diseases and potentially extend the lifespan of millions of people. However, the legal ramifications of the science are yet to be determined. The benefits of nanotechnology, while extensive, will have to be weighed against the risks involved. Environmental, health and safety issues of nanoparticles will need to be considered. It is a legal certainty that many of these issues will be resolved in the courtroom. But is the legal community ready for the issues that these emerging technologies will bring?
Most large firms were founded in a time where lawyers kept their notes written on legal pads, not typed on a keyboard and entered into a laptop. Ask most law firms what they know about biotechnology, nanotechnology or other scientific advances and all you’ll receive is a blank stare and an invoice for the meeting. Understandably, it would be foolish to expect a law firm to be experts in every area. However, law firms must be familiar with the technology to a degree that they can effectively deal with expert testimony, communicate findings to a jury and represent their clients in a court of law. Sadly, most law firms are no more familiar with emerging technologies and scientific advances than the juries they are trying to convince. As scientific and technological issues advance, the education of the legal community must advance as well.
One firm that positions itself on the forefront of scientific and technical litigation is Markland Hanley. Billing itself as “a law firm for the twenty-first century”, the
Advances in new technology demand a new breed of lawyers and law firms—ones that understand the complexities in science and technology and can effectively represent companies over a variety of complex issues. Firms that either do not understand the technologies in question or require education at their client’s expense are foolish to expect favorable results in a Court of Law.
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