Law is the structure that keeps society equitable, fair and civil. But in spite of the associations of rigidity and infallibility that are commonly given to notions of law, laws are actually more malleable and dynamic than many presume. Laws are living documents, continually being honed, amended, revised, repealed and otherwise evolved to better suit the times and circumstances. From the supreme law of the land—such as the U.S. Constitution—to local statutes and municipal ordinances, laws are applied across numerous different levels of government. At each level, laws undergo several stages of development—from identifying needs, to drafting proposals, to voting to enact laws, signing acts into law and reviewing regulations and proposing amendments. As a civilian or public servant, you have a hand in each step of lawmaking. Your letters to elected officials serve as the impetus to new laws, your votes in support of new bills help turn them into laws and your willingness to adhere to the laws and defer authority to law enforcement officials set the tone for your day-to-day interaction with laws. In other words, you don’t have to be a lawyer, judge or politician to be invested in the lawmaking process.
From civilian suits to federal crimes, staying informed—or retaining professionals with the right expertise—is key to staying on the right side of the law. Our Law directory is included in our Society category because law is an integral part of any healthy community, city or nation. These resources will help you learn about local, state and federal courts, lawyers, law libraries, law enforcement, legal services, publications, news and media and opportunities in the legal field. Whether you’re curious about what’s legal and what’s illicit, defending your case or simply trying to make a difference in your community, begin your research at our Law directory.