50 Legal Guides to Help Americans Understand Their Rights

As part of our commitment to educating ordinary Americans about their legal rights, Justia provides Justia Legal Guides. Written in readable language, each guide explains the core topics in a legal practice area. Some of them contain 50-state surveys that track variations in state laws on a key issue. We have compiled nearly 50 Legal Guides to date, and we expect to expand existing guides and add more guides in the near future.

Family Law

Family Law Represented With Figures

Matters involving domestic relations tend to have high stakes, financially and emotionally. The Family Law center provides an overview of three core topics within this area: divorce, child custody and support, and adoption. In addition, readers can learn about issues such as restraining orders based on domestic violence, the emancipation of minors, guardianships, and family law matters for LGBTQ+ couples. The Family Law center contains a 50-state survey on domestic violence restraining orders and related forms.


Two People Arguing

The consequences of dissolving a marriage can extend far into the future. Many of these consequences involve the division of money and property. The Divorce center describes how various assets may be divided, from real estate and businesses to intellectual property. Further articles discuss special circumstances that may arise for some couples, such as those with minor children, substantial assets, or military careers. A section on the process of getting a divorce covers not only what happens when a couple goes to court but also how arbitration, mediation, and collaborative divorce can provide solutions outside the courtroom. The Divorce center also contains 50-state surveys on uncontested divorce, alimony, and property division.

Child Custody and Support

Picture of a Happy Family

Questions concerning custody and support can arise when parents are unmarried or when a marriage ends while a child is a minor. The Child Custody and Support center describes the difference between physical and legal custody, addresses nuances such as interstate and international child custody, and explains when a court may order sole custody or supervised visitation. The child support section of this center describes how support is calculated and addresses related issues like paternity. Sometimes custody or support needs to be modified, or problems arise with enforcement. The Child Custody and Support center addresses these topics as well. This center contains 50-state surveys on child custody, child support, and paternity.


Women With Their Adopted Daughter

Prospective parents may find the complexities of adoption overwhelming, The Adoption center aims to make the process more transparent by explaining the differences among types of adoption, such as independent adoptions, identified adoptions, and agency adoptions. The center describes who may adopt and who may be adopted, while providing information for biological parents and discussing how to terminate parental rights. Readers also can find a 50-state survey on adoption laws and forms.

LGBTQ Legal Resources

Person Holding a LGBTQ Flag

Legal issues affecting same-sex individuals and couples span many areas. These include family law and divorce, as well as employment discrimination involving sexual orientation or gender identity. The LGBTQ Legal Resources center also covers distinctive issues related to the criminal justice system, such as the rights of LGB prisoners. Other sections address the healthcare rights of this community and the legal implications of HIV status. Specific concerns may arise for LGBTQ+ foreign nationals seeking to come to the United States, or for LGBTQ+ service members in the U.S. armed forces. These topics are covered as well.

Criminal Law

Judge Gavel Next to Handcuffs

Any encounter with law enforcement can be daunting, and a criminal conviction can change the course of a person’s life. The Criminal Law center outlines the elements of many crimes, ranging from homicide and sex offenses to drug crimes, theft crimes, and white collar crimes. It describes common criminal defenses that can be used to defeat various charges, such as self-defense, a mistake of fact or law, consent, or entrapment by law enforcement. The center also discusses the rights of citizens during criminal investigations, including Miranda rights and search and seizure rules based on the Fourth Amendment. Another section covers the plea bargain process, which is how most criminal cases are resolved. Readers can find 50-state surveys on expungement, which is the process of clearing a criminal record, and on gun laws.


Police Officer Checking a Person Who Seems to be DUI

One of the most pervasive types of crimes is drunk driving. In addition to penalties like fines and jail time, a driver may face consequences like a license suspension or revocation. Penalties and collateral consequences tend to increase for repeat DUI convictions. The DUI and DWI center also describes what happens during a DUI stop and addresses distinctive situations like DUI checkpoints, chemical test refusal, and underage drunk driving. The DUI and DWI center contains a 50-state survey on drunk driving laws and penalties.

Traffic Tickets

Police Car Behind a Regular Car

Although traffic tickets are not as serious as criminal convictions, they can lead to fines and the suspension or revocation of a license, as well as increased insurance premiums. The Traffic Tickets center explains these consequences and helps readers decide whether and how to fight a ticket. It also describes what happens in a traffic case, from the initial arraignment to negotiations with a prosecutor to a trial where evidence is presented. Another section covers issues specific to certain types of tickets, such as speeding tickets and red light tickets. The Traffic Tickets center contains a 50-state survey on traffic ticket points in each state and the consequences of various point totals.

Personal Injury

Personal Injury Law Book Next to a Judge Gavel

When a person suffers injuries because someone else was at fault, they may be able to pursue compensation. The Personal Injury center discusses how to prove fault and damages in these cases, addressing topics such as joint and several liability, comparative and contributory negligence, strict liability, and vicarious liability. The center is divided into several sections specific to various types of accidents, such as motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse and negligence, and workplace accidents. The Personal Injury center contains a 50-state survey on wrongful death lawsuits, which are claims based on a death caused by the fault of someone else.

Car Accidents

Picture of a Car Accident

A common sight on roads and highways across America, car accidents can cause serious injuries. The Car Accidents center discusses the various types of car accidents, which are often defined by the mechanics of the accident (head-on, side-impact, rear-end, rollover, or chain reaction) or the types of people involved, such as teenagers, elderly people, uninsured drivers, or rideshare drivers. Another section discusses the causes of crashes, including distracted driving, drunk driving, or defects in the car. Most car accidents result in insurance claims, some of which are brought under a no-fault system. The Car Accidents center contains a 50-state survey on car accident laws and insurance rules in each state.

Truck Accidents

Picture of a Truck Accident

Claims arising from truck accidents may involve particularly serious injuries and substantial damages, causing them to be fiercely contested. The Truck Accidents center parallels the Car Accidents center, discussing the types of truck accidents and common causes that can lead to them. These causes often involve violations of trucking regulations, which can support a personal injury case. Certain types of trucks can pose distinctive risks, such as delivery trucks, tanker trucks, and flatbed trucks. Often, more than one party was at fault for a truck accident. The Truck Accidents center outlines the various people and entities that might be sued and the evidence that may be vital.

Medical Malpractice

Nurse Feeling Sorry About a Radiography

Patients must trust their doctors to provide competent care, but errors happen all too often in the healthcare field. These may include a misdiagnosis of a condition, an error in prescribing medication, or a surgical error, among others. In addition to covering these issues, the Medical Malpractice center describes malpractice in distinctive settings, ranging from the emergency room to the dentist and plastic surgery. These cases often involve complex requirements, such as affidavits of merit and the use of expert witnesses in proving liability. The Medical Malpractice center contains a 50-state survey on substantive and procedural requirements for lawsuits against healthcare providers.

Birth Injuries

Picture of a Baby's Foot With Four Fingers

One of the most devastating forms of medical malpractice occurs when a child is injured during, shortly before, or shortly after birth by the negligence of a healthcare provider. A common type of birth injury is cerebral palsy, which may require ongoing treatment at substantial cost. The Birth Injuries center also discusses head injuries and nerve injuries to newborns, as well as complications during pregnancy that may harm both the mother and the baby. Like other medical malpractice cases, birth injury lawsuits usually require expert testimony and affidavits of merit. The center describes these requirements and statutes of limitations for bringing a case.

Products Liability

Product Liability Note Next to a Judge Gavel

Encounters with a dangerous product can cause serious, permanent harm. The Products Liability center describes the types of defects that can support a claim, such as manufacturing defects, design defects, and failures to warn about risks. Products that may be affected include prescription drugs, medical devices, car parts, and food, among others. The Products Liability center walks through the process of bringing a claim, explaining whom to sue, how to prove liability, the time limits for filing, and potential damages that may be sought.

Workers’ Compensation

Picture of an Employee Getting Hurt

An employee who gets injured or sick on the job has a safety net of benefits that covers their medical treatment and some of their lost wages. The Workers’ Compensation center discusses eligibility for these benefits and distinctive issues that may arise from certain complex types of health conditions, such as PTSD and repetitive stress injuries. An injured employee usually must report their injury and file a claim within a limited time after an injury or illness. They may want to work with a lawyer to maximize their chance of success. The Workers’ Compensation center provides a 50-state survey of key issues in these claims.

Employment Law

Two People Shaking Hands

Many disputes between an employer and an employee involve claims of discrimination or harassment on the job. The Employment Law center discusses the main protected traits, such as race, sex, national origin, religion, disability, age, and sexual orientation. Perhaps the most common type of harassment at work is sexual harassment, which may create a hostile work environment when it is severe or pervasive. Other employment disputes may arise over wage and hour violations. The Employment Law center also discusses employment contracts, the privacy rights of employees, and their rights to time off from work, among other issues. A group of 50-state surveys cover discrimination, meal and rest breaks, family and medical leave, paid sick leave, vacation time, jury duty leave, voting leave, drug testing, and social media privacy.


Picture of Foreign Nationals in a Room

Some foreign nationals come to the U.S. to join family members, while others come for work. The Immigration center describes the work visas that may be available, such as the coveted H-1B visa, and the options for family immigration under the labyrinthine laws in this area. A foreign national may pursue a non-immigrant visa for a temporary stay, or they may seek an immigrant visa and a green card, which means that they are a lawful permanent resident. If they eventually meet the requirements for naturalization, they can become a U.S. citizen. The Immigration center describes the details of this rigorous process. Another section covers deportation (removal) proceedings for foreign nationals.

Estate Planning

People Closing a Deal

If you want to control what happens to your property after your death, you likely will need to devise a will or a trust, or a combination. The Estate Planning center describes each of these instruments, while discussing probate and explaining ways to avoid this expensive and time-consuming process. An aging person also may want to devise a power of attorney for health care or finances. They may need to make challenging end-of-life decisions, such as whether to donate organs for research or transplants. The Estate Planning center contains 50-state surveys on topics such as wills, advance directives, and guardianships.


Last Will and Testament Document Next to a Judge Gavel

When a deceased person leaves a will, their assets may need to be distributed through probate. Becoming an executor of a loved one’s estate and guiding it through probate administration is a weighty responsibility. The Probate center explains the duties of an executor, such as taking inventory of an estate, filing a petition with the probate court, and managing assets during probate. Sometimes a family member may pursue a will contest or a lawsuit against the executor, or a creditor may bring a claim against an estate. Transferring property outside probate can be a good way to reduce disputes and simplify the process. A 50-state survey addresses small estates, which may be distributed through streamlined procedures.

Elder Law

Woman Next to an Older Woman

Aging Americans face distinctive concerns. Some of these involve long-term care, for which they may consider entering a long-term care facility or an assisted living facility. However, many elderly people choose to stay at home, which may require home modifications for safety and accessibility. The Elder Law center also describes the risk of elder abuse, which may occur in nursing homes or other settings. Another section advises children who are caring for their parents. They may need to help parents manage their money or pay for their care, among other things, and long-distance caregiving can pose challenges.

Social Security and Retirement Planning

Older Man Reading a Book

Government benefits provide important security for elderly people. The Social Security and Retirement Planning center describes how Social Security benefits are calculated and explains when they should be claimed. The Medicare and Medicaid programs can provide assistance with healthcare costs. For example, Medicaid can cover nursing home costs and sometimes assisted living costs. The section of the Social Security and Retirement Planning center on retirement planning advises readers on topics such as how to save for retirement and how to calculate their budget for retirement in advance.

Home Ownership

Two People Smiling in Front of Their New House

Buying a home is often the biggest transaction that a person will undertake in their life. The Home Ownership center walks through the process of buying a home, such as making an offer and negotiating a purchase and sale agreement with the seller. After completing this process, a homeowner likely will need to keep up with their mortgage so that they avoid foreclosure. Other expenses related to home ownership include homeowners’ insurance and real estate taxes. Conflicts with neighbors may arise, such as property boundary disputes. The center also addresses the process of selling a home, including the disclosure requirements imposed on sellers. A 50-state survey covers real estate laws and forms.


Foreclosure House for Sale Sign

When a homeowner does not make payments on their mortgage, their lender may try to foreclose on their home. The Foreclosure center describes the difference between judicial and non-judicial foreclosure and explains how to fight a foreclosure, or at least delay the process while a homeowner plans a move. Some defenses to foreclosure are procedural, such as statutes of limitations problems, while others are based on substantive errors by a mortgage servicer. A homeowner also may pursue alternatives to foreclosure, which range from loan modifications and forbearance agreements to short sales. The Foreclosure center contains a 50-state survey of key laws and procedures.

Landlord-Tenant Law

Lease Agreement Document

Many facets of the landlord-tenant relationship are governed by the lease or rental agreement, which both sides should understand. The Landlord-Tenant Law center also explains rent rules and issues involving injuries to tenants on the property. If a tenant wants to rent a unit with a co-tenant, or if they want to sublease their unit to someone else, they should understand their obligations in these arrangements. In addition to providing information for tenants, the Landlord-Tenant Law center guides landlords on issues such as rent, security deposits, property management, repairs, and their right of entry to rental units. The center contains a 50-state survey on eviction rules, as well as a discussion of this process for tenants and for landlords.


Person Getting Stressed by the Numbers of a Company

When a consumer or business cannot emerge from financial woes, they may consider bankruptcy. Most consumers file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, while many businesses use Chapter 11. (Subchapter V of Chapter 11 offers an attractive path for many small businesses.) The Bankruptcy center describes key aspects of filing under each chapter, such as the means test in Chapter 7 and cramdowns in Chapter 13. It also covers distinctive procedures such as adversary proceedings, which are a type of lawsuit, and objections to discharge by creditors or trustees. Another section of the center covers common exemptions available to debtors. The Bankruptcy center contains a 50-state survey on these exemptions.

Consumer Protection

Consumer Protection Book Next to a Judge Gavel

In addition to putting safe products on the market, businesses have certain obligations in their interactions with consumers. The Consumer Protection center covers deceptive practices and fraud in numerous settings, ranging from car dealers and health care to securities fraud, mortgage fraud, and telemarketing violations. One of the most common problems affecting consumers is identity theft, and the Consumer Protection center provides information on how to prevent or recognize identity theft, as well as what to do if you have been targeted. Consumers also have protections when businesses or collectors try to collect a debt. Another section of the Consumer Protection center discusses how consumers can enforce their rights, which may involve participating in a class action or going to small claims court, among other strategies.

Debt Relief & Management

Person Checking His Multiple Debts

Facing a huge amount of debt can be overwhelming for anyone, and it may be hard to interpret a credit report or decide which debts to pay first. While bankruptcy may be an option for some people deep in debt, others may benefit from a debt management plan, which is a less drastic solution. The Debt Relief & Management center describes these options and others. Some debtors may face creditor lawsuits, although many are judgment proof, which means that they cannot pay any money awarded. The center also covers common collection methods, such as wage garnishment and bank setoffs. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects debtors from abuses by collectors. Sometimes they may be able to negotiate a settlement of a debt.

Insurance Law

Insurance Policy Document Next to a Judge Gavel

Insurance policies are contracts between an insurance company and a policyholder, in which the policyholder pays premiums for coverage if certain exigencies occur. The Insurance Law center describes many types of policies, such as auto insurance, homeowners’ insurance, and life insurance. In addition to insurance for hazards such as fires and accidents such as slip and falls on the property, homeowners can get title insurance for issues involving the ownership of the property. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) changed the landscape of health insurance, but HIPAA still provides important protections as well. A section of the Insurance center describes these laws and other key features of the health insurance field.

Health Care Law

HIPPA Regulations Document under a Vaccination Record Document

A substantial part of the Health Care Law center focuses on health insurance, including the impact of HIPAA and the Affordable Care Act. The center also advises readers on issues like getting their medical records and keeping medical bills under control so that they do not accumulate massive debt. It describes how to get health insurance through employers and the paths to insurance for self-employed people. Additional sections of the center cover topics such as Medicare and Medicaid, deceptive health care practices, and powers of attorney for health care. LGBTQ+ people also may face distinctive concerns involving health care.

Small Business

People Smiling Outside an Open Business

The process of starting a business is exciting but potentially daunting. The Small Business center describes the first steps to take in forming a business, such as registering the business and getting licenses or permits. Business owners can choose among several business forms, ranging from partnerships and limited liability companies to C corporations and S corporations. Once a business has been formed, business owners need to comply with federal and state employment laws in hiring and managing employees. For example, they cannot discriminate against employees, fail to pay overtime, or unreasonably invade their privacy. The Small Business center also advises business owners on how to manage and grow their business and how to handle disputes that may arise with other business owners or corporate shareholders.

Intellectual Property

Copyright, Patent, and License Books

The three main forms of intellectual property are patents, copyrights, and trademarks, each of which is covered by a section of the Intellectual Property center. Patents must meet certain requirements, such as non-obviousness and utility. They come in the forms of utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. A patent owner can enforce their rights by pursuing patent infringement litigation. While copyright owners also can enforce their rights through infringement litigation, the fair use defense may defeat liability in some cases. Enforcing trademark rights may involve both trademark infringement and trademark dilution causes of action. The Intellectual Property center also discusses trade secrets, which are an unregistered form of intellectual property, and how to enforce these less tangible rights.

Tax Law

Dollars Under a Judge Gavel

Many people do not know the full scope of deductions to which they may be entitled on their income taxes. The Tax Law center covers deductions such as casualty loss tax deductions, home office tax deductions, and real estate tax deductions. Some people may be able to claim credits like child tax credits and an earned income tax credit. A separate section of the center addresses business taxes, which come with their own set of deductions. Examples include a pass-through tax deduction and a deduction for ordinary and necessary expenses. People burdened by tax debts or facing tax audits also can consult the Tax Law center for guidance on issues like offers in compromise, installment payment plans, and retaining records for an audit.

Education Law

Kids Participating in a Class

Legal issues in the field of education often involve children with special needs, who may be entitled to Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) under federal law. The Education Law center also discusses discrimination in education against students with disabilities. In addition, it covers discrimination based on race, color, or national origin, which is barred by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, and discrimination based on sex, which is barred by Title IX. Parents may want to work with a lawyer to protect their child’s rights. Another issue that may arise in education is liability for injuries to students at schools.

Military Law

Military Woman Saluting

The Uniform Code of Military Justice provides distinctive rules that govern service members in the U.S. armed forces. The Military Law center describes the military criminal justice system, including the relatively informal procedures under Article 15 and the more formal court-martial proceedings. A service member who develops a disability may be found unfit for military service, but they can appeal this finding. A section of the Military Law center covers the disability separation and retirement process, including how to upgrade a disability rating to get more retirement pay and benefits. With or without a disability, veterans may receive substantial benefits, ranging from educational assistance to health care and nursing care. They also have post-service employment rights and access to unemployment benefits.

Lawyers and the Legal Process

People Arguing in a Court

Some disputes require going to court and potentially working with a lawyer to reach a solution. The Lawyers and the Legal Process center describes each step in a lawsuit from filing a complaint and conducting discovery to filing pre-trial motions and going through trial. Small claims courts may offer a more efficient resolution for cases of a lower value. The Lawyers and the Legal Process center contains a 50-state survey on small claims laws and forms. It also discusses how to represent yourself in legal proceedings, including how to gather evidence and how to collect a judgment after winning a lawsuit. Rather than going to court, however, some people may pursue mediation, arbitration, or other alternative forms of dispute resolution.

Administrative Law

Administrative Law Book Next to a Judge Gavel

The administrative state emerged during the New Deal of the 1930s, and government agencies continue to have a substantial impact on people and businesses. The Administrative Law center discusses the differences between executive agencies, which are established by the President, and legislative agencies, which are established by Congress. Agency functions include rulemaking, which may be formal or informal in different situations. Agencies also can launch investigations and may pursue enforcement actions. Administrative law judges oversee hearings in a quasi-judicial setting. A private party can appeal their decisions.

Banking and Finance Law

People Talking About Statistics

Strict regulations govern most activities in which banks participate. The Banking and Finance Law center covers topics such as banking fraud and rules for bank lending that protect consumers. This field also encompasses securities law, including the threat of fraud against investors. The Banking and Finance Law center discusses several improper practices by brokers, such as misrepresentations, account churning, and unauthorized trading. Some disputes based on alleged securities fraud are resolved through arbitration rather than litigation.

Civil Rights and Discrimination

People Raising Their Fists

Federal and state laws protect people from discrimination in numerous settings, such as employment, housing, and education. For example, employers cannot discriminate on the basis of disability, age, sex, pregnancy, race, national origin, religion, and many other protected traits. The Civil Rights and Discrimination center describes each of these workplace protections, while explaining how laws such as Title VI and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act protect children from discrimination at schools. When the government violates someone’s civil rights, such as when the police use excessive force, the victim may have a claim for compensation. The Civil Rights and Discrimination center contains a 50-state survey on voting laws and procedures, complementing its overview of voting rights.

Animal and Dog Law

Animal Law Book Next to a Judge Gavel

Legal issues involving dogs and other animals overlap with several other areas, such as personal injury, criminal law, family law, and estate planning. A section of the Animal and Dog Law center covers claims resulting from dog bites or animal attacks, including defenses that may be available to pet owners. In addition, the center discusses the crimes of animal cruelty and neglect, as well as what happens to a pet in a divorce and how a person can create a pet trust to ensure their future wellbeing. People with disabilities have rights involving their service animals and emotional support animals under housing laws. Certain endangered species have protections under federal laws.

Maritime Law

Cruise Ship in the Middle of the Ocean

Also known as admiralty law, maritime law covers issues such as injuries at sea and disputes between commercial entities that ship cargo across oceans. The Maritime Law center describes claims arising from recreational boating accidents and cruise ship injuries. It also covers the legal rights of injured maritime employees under laws such as the Jones Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. They also may be entitled to traditional maintenance and cure benefits. Maritime law intersects with environmental law in the area of oil spills, which have received increased scrutiny after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

International Law

Figure of the Planet Earth

Many concepts in international law are relatively abstract and nuanced, such as how sovereign states are formed and recognized, or when the use of force is justified. The International Law center also explains how key international institutions like the United Nations and the International Court of Justice function. A primary source of international law consists of treaties, although U.S. law recognizes an agreement as a treaty only if it passes through certain steps. Treaties may affect areas such as international trade, human rights, and environmental law, among others.

Constitutional Law

Image of the US Constitution

The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land. The Constitutional Law center helps each American understand their rights under the founding document. These include due process and equal protection, enshrined in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. The First Amendment provides key protections for the freedom of speech and religious freedom, while establishing the separation of church and state. Constitutional law relates to certain issues that have sparked recent controversy, such as LGBTQ rights, gun rights, and abortion. The Constitutional Law center contains a 50-state survey on abortion laws in the wake of the Supreme Court decision returning the authority to regulate reproductive rights to the states.

Communications and Internet Law

Image of Cameras Behind a Studio

The Federal Communications Commission oversees this industry, imposing licensing procedures for broadcast stations and regulations for broadcast content. The Communications and Internet Law center also discusses rules for media ownership, political broadcasts, and other issues. Federal law protects privacy in communications, including emails and phone calls, while consumers can sue businesses whose faulty security practices result in data breaches that expose their personal information. Cybercrimes extend beyond theft to crimes involving copyright infringement, child pornography, controlled substances, and stalking or harassment.

Entertainment Law

Clapper Board Under a Judge Gavel

Actors, musicians, authors, and other artists may face distinctive legal concerns. A musician may want to know how royalties work, for example, while actors should understand how to protect their interests in talent representation agreements with agents or managers. The Entertainment Law center also covers the publicity rights of celebrities, who are entitled to control the commercial use of their names and likenesses. A form of copyright infringement, piracy has become rampant in the entertainment industry and can lead to harsh penalties. When entertainers face the same legal issues as other people, such as getting a divorce or getting a visa to come to the U.S., their special circumstances may affect their options.

Sports Law

Women Winning a Medal

The issues that confront professional athletes may diverge from those confronting college athletes. The Sports Law center addresses both audiences. It discusses contracts and endorsement agreements that professional athletes may sign, while describing the collective bargaining agreements that govern professional sports leagues. Meanwhile, the center covers the impact of Title IX on college sports and explains how behavior policies may affect student athletes. A 50-state survey on the name, image, and likeness rights of college athletes complements a general overview of this recently evolving area. Some topics in this center may be relevant to athletes at all levels, such as doping regulations and sports injury claims.

Native American Law

Woman Dancing With a Traditional Dress

The Bureau of Indian Affairs oversees relations between the federal government and indigenous peoples. The Native American Law center explains how Supreme Court decisions and federal laws have shaped the concept of tribal sovereignty, while describing how tribal governments and courts operate. Areas of particular significance to Native American populations include their religious freedom and the preservation of their land and cultural property. The Native American Law center also covers rules for casinos, an important revenue source for some tribes.

Agricultural Law

Harvester Tractor on a Field

Although farming is less ubiquitous than it used to be, many Americans still earn their living from the land, which may be leased rather than owned by its occupant. The Agricultural Law center describes how these businesses operate, from financing and credit to production contracts for farmers and ranchers to the impact of labor laws for agricultural workers. This area of law sometimes overlaps with health and the environment. The federal government strictly regulates food safety, while conservation programs help protect land, natural resources, and the environment from problems caused by agricultural production.

Aviation Law

Airplane on a Runway

Travelers often experience the frustration of cancellations or delays on flights, sometimes involving overbooking. The Aviation Law center covers their rights in these circumstances, while outlining the “freedoms of the air” enjoyed by commercial airlines. Although plane crashes are uncommon, the risk increases for small planes and helicopters. The center describes the claims that may arise in each of these situations. Meanwhile, crimes on planes may carry harsh penalties. Sometimes charges may arise from disturbances on planes that interfere with crew members or flight attendants in performing their duties.

Cannabis Law

Dispensary of Marijuana

The federal government continues to prohibit marijuana as a controlled substance, but many states have legalized the drug, or at least legalized it for medical use. The Cannabis Law center guides entrepreneurs who are interested in starting a cannabis business, employees who may want to work in the cannabis industry, and investors who are considering testing these waters. Due to their precarious position on the fringe of legality, cannabis businesses may face financing challenges and must comply with specific rules to get licenses and keep them. The Cannabis Law center also contains a 50-state survey on the legal status of these products.

COVID-19 Legal Resources

COVID-19 Flyer

Starting in the early spring of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic took a heavy toll on businesses, employees, homeowners, and others. Justia developed a COVID-19 Legal Resources center that provided information about employee rights and business assistance as many Americans struggled to preserve their livelihoods. The center also discussed eviction bans and mortgage relief, describing what people could do to stay in their homes. Another section addressed people facing substantial debt and considering bankruptcy. The COVID-19 Legal Resources center contained several 50-state surveys on topics such as unemployment benefits, housing relief, travel restrictions, mask mandates, court operations, and reopening plans.

Final Thoughts

Many legal issues require the assistance of an attorney, who can review the nuances of the situation that a person or business faces and provide tailored advice. In the meantime, though, the Justia Legal Guides offer a useful introduction to an area of law. By understanding the basics, a consumer can know better what to expect as a legal matter unfolds, or evaluate whether a matter is worth pursuing. They also can pinpoint specific issues or concerns to raise with an attorney if legal counsel proves necessary.

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