Legal studies, sometimes known simply as the discipline of “law,” relate to the binding legal customs and practices of a community, known as laws (Gove, 2002). Laws comprise systems of rules that are “created and enforced through social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior” (Robertson, 1999, p. 90), fundamentally considering equality, fairness, and justice.
The field has many subdisciplines, including administrative, criminal, and civil law. These include further subdisciplines of environmental, labor, and property law (“Outline of academic disciplines,” 2019).
Legal studies professionals provide legal advice, draft legal documents, and represent clients in legal negotiations and court proceedings, such as lawsuits (“Practice of law,” 2018). Common services provided include those of a “lawyer or attorney at law, barrister, solicitor, or civil law notary” (“Practice of law,” 2018, para. 1).
In Disaster Research
Laws and regulations are fundamental pillars for building community resilience post-disaster though policies and initiatives for disaster risk reduction (Kelly & Guinan, 2015). Through interpretations of such laws and regulations, legal studies professionals provide guidance for disaster risk management at both national and local levels to:
- Ensure the allocation of resources for disaster risk reduction, reduce existing risks, and prevent new risks
- Establish early warning systems
- Provide education, training, and outreach for disaster risk reduction
- Engage all relevant stakeholders by addressing vulnerabilities (Kelly & Guinan, 2015)
Garner, B. A. (2001). A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage. (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Gove, P. B. and the Merriam-Webster editorial staff. (2002). Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster.
Kelly, T., & Guinan, A. (2015). The handbook in law and disaster risk reduction. C. Sobel (Ed.). International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Geneva, Switzerland. Retrieved August 21, 2018, from https://www.ifrc.org/Global/Photos/Secretariat/201511/Handbook%20on%20law%20and%20DRR%20LR.pdf
Outline of academic disciplines. (2019). In Wikipedia. Retrieved May 21, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outline_of_academic_disciplines#Law Practice of law. (2018). In Wikipedia. Retrieved August 21, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Practice_of_law
Robertson, G. (1999). Crimes against Humanity: The Struggle for Global Justice. New York: New Press.
CONVERGE is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Division of Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation, Program on Humans, Disasters, and the Built Environment (Award #1841338). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.