Whether you’re launching a business or starting a family, the list of reasons to seek legal assistance is varied, and specializations can help provide expertise on less-common or newer concerns. Three local attorneys discuss areas of legal concentration that are currently growing.
Up first is business—new business, specifically. “The St. Louis area has really seen growth in the last several years in the entrepreneurial community,” says Brian Nolan of Carmody MacDonald. “I think it’s a field in business that is going to grow tremendously over the next decade.”
And with new business comes a legal concentration focused on start-ups’ needs. “Our emerging business group focuses on the entrepreneurial community in St. Louis and start-up companies, from people who are [just] out of college to people who have experience in the industry and are looking to branch out and start their own business,” Nolan explains. He says the group formed last year based on the foundation of some of the firm’s other practice groups, such as business law and corporate practice. “Emerging businesses/emerging growth companies have unique needs that maybe more established companies don’t often need. Typically, the owners are very focused on their product or service, and we can provide our experience to help them with those various growing pains a company may have.”
Outside of business law and into the family unit, assisted reproductive technologies or third-party assisted reproduction presents another area for legal concentration. This includes cases involving egg donation, surrogacy, embryo and sperm donation. “I help them navigate the legal process so that in each case, the person or couple who are the intended parents of the child become the legal parents of the child,” says Tim Schlesinger of Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal.
Schlesinger says this field of law is growing not just because of the expanding technologies related to third-party assisted reproduction, but also “because a lot of the people who use assisted reproductive technology are same-sex couples, and with the normalization of rights for same sex couples, they seem to feel more at-ease building their families through assisted reproduction.”
Those utilizing third-party assisted reproduction need legal assistance to avoid disputes about whom the child belongs to, as well as any financial support or payments, Schlesinger explains. “At the end of the day, this is all about having children, and the people going through this process—both the intended parents and the gestational carriers or embryo donors—all need legal representation to ensure their rights are protected.”
From the board room to the delivery room, legal concentrations protect across the field, including the roadway. “We’re seeing more and more tractor trailers on the roadways these days, and as the highways get more crowded…you find that there are more collisions,” explains Mark Bronson of Newman Bronson & Wallis, who frequently focuses his work on trucking accidents. “Often times, it’s because of the truckers not following the rules with regard to requirements for rest and sleep, so you have a lot of drowsy drivers—and also drivers [who] lack experience and training.”
Bronson also notes pharmaceutical and medical device litigation as a growing field he’s often involved with. “The drugs are hitting the market before they’ve been adequately tested like they used to be by the FDA,” he says, explaining that products are not pulled until after so many adverse reactions have been reported. “Basically, we, the consumers, are becoming the guinea pigs…Unfortunately, by [the time the products are pulled] many people have been harmed.”