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Smorr53

Should I Pursue a Career in Space Law?

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So I'm a 0L at CalgLaw and I don't know what type of law I want to end up practicing. I have a background in finance from my undergrad, but what I am truly passionate about is Science, Tech and Space. Space Law stands out to me especially as I think it will be growing market and a field that would provide for an interesting legal career. However, I don't know if it is practical for a Canadian law student to pursue a career in Space Law or even how to go about doing it. Any advice is appreciated !

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Congrats on your acceptance!  I wouldn't worry too much about choosing a path of law at this point in time, but if you are interested in a specific area, certainly seek out people in practice and try to make contact. They may be willing to meet with you and talk about a possible path to the area you want to be. 

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@Iheartcats  thanks, I was planning to eventually to reach out to people. I just assume that  spacelaw does not have a big presence in the Canadian marketplace, which may make it difficult for me if I choose to pursue a career in it.

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I'm unsure about the course offerings at Calgary Law or if there are many courses in Space Law. However, I have heard from some people and a few times during the Welcome Day Event that McGill is quite well known for Space Law as they host the Institute of Air and Space Law, there's some info on it here: https://www.mcgill.ca/iasl/. I know you won't be going to McGill for your undergrad, but the reason I'm telling you this is because McGill has an LL.M. in Air and Space law which could possibly be a good way of getting your foot in the door in the field. I don't really know a ton about it myself as I am a 0L at McGill, but maybe an upper-year student or graduate might be able to provide more apt information ?

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Smorr53 said:

So I'm a 0L at CalgLaw and I don't know what type of law I want to end up practicing. I have a background in finance from my undergrad, but what I am truly passionate about is Science, Tech and Space. Space Law stands out to me especially as I think it will be growing market and a field that would provide for an interesting legal career. However, I don't know if it is practical for a Canadian law student to pursue a career in Space Law or even how to go about doing it. Any advice is appreciated !

There's an international space law moot that you should try out. Put a team together at your school with your faculty's support and see where it goes!

EDIT:

This is what I was thinking of: https://iislweb.org/lachs_moot/

Edited by ericontario

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4 hours ago, Smorr53 said:

So I'm a 0L at CalgLaw and I don't know what type of law I want to end up practicing. I have a background in finance from my undergrad, but what I am truly passionate about is Science, Tech and Space. Space Law stands out to me especially as I think it will be growing market and a field that would provide for an interesting legal career. However, I don't know if it is practical for a Canadian law student to pursue a career in Space Law or even how to go about doing it. Any advice is appreciated !

Just my two cents: I wouldn't count on getting much academic exposure to space law in law school; I think the best thing you can do now is get high grades in law school, which will open doors for you later (LLM programs, or applications to firms that actually do that kind of work.) However, if your law school offers courses in transportation or aviation law,  or international law (as in, learning about international treaties/agreements and how they work), then those might be useful. Also, if you haven't already, google space law and find  lawyers that are working in that area to get an idea of the path that they took.

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Other than maybe one or two profs at that McGill place, is there even a single lawyer in Canada with a career or practice in "space law" (whatever that is)?

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3 minutes ago, Jaggers said:

Other than maybe one or two profs at that McGill place, is there even a single lawyer in Canada with a career or practice in "space law" (whatever that is)?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_law.  And no probably not.. I would probably have to move to the states if I were to pursue a career in "Space Law'.

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Depends on what you mean by Space Law though. I mean, companies like MDA, or organizations like CSA are going to have counsel. They may do a lot of corporate/commercial stuff... but there will be a lot of niche work likely involved too. Similar to corporate/commercial lawyers who specialize in aviation law and work for the airlines. Possibility anyway. I wouldn't write it off as a career option in Canada before at least doing so more research.

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24 minutes ago, Jaggers said:

Other than maybe one or two profs at that McGill place, is there even a single lawyer in Canada with a career or practice in "space law" (whatever that is)?

There is at least one firm that purports to do it. TBH, I have no idea what it entails but I'd hazard a guess that some do transactional work (e.g., buying and selling satellites? IDK) and some to litigation (e.g., your satellite hit my satellite), and some advise governments on public law issues (e.g., who owns the moon? what treaties govern that? what laws apply if a Japanese guy punches a Russian on a US owned space station?) 

I bet it's not all that much exciting that "earth law", except that it sounds cooler.

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Yes, I could see how different practice areas could give you occasion to touch on an issue that involves space or spacecraft, but building a whole career/practice seems unlikely.

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If you're passionate about science, technology, and space, why not pursue a career in those fields instead of law school? 

You might eventually work with companies in those fields, but drafting their agreements, etc, isn't anything like actually doing that sort of work. 

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1 minute ago, QuincyWagstaff said:

If you're passionate about science, technology, and space, why not pursue a career in those fields instead of law school? 

You might eventually work with companies in those fields, but drafting their agreements, etc, isn't anything like actually doing that sort of work. 

I also passionate about law, just trying to find some way to bridge multiple disciplines I am passionate about.

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I am a 1L that will be going into 2L at UofC and, hate to tell you, I have never heard of "space law" until I came upon this thread. From the upper year courses that I got to choose from, there was also nothing that spoke to "space" in regards to law.

But don't worry too much, first year precludes you from chosing classes anyways since you need to learn the fundamentals. So, inevitably, you will learn about other practice areas and gain an interest in them. More-over, your perspective on the practice of law will change. 

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You're interested in private equity, science, tech and space. I feel like venture capital and startups would be perfect for you.

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Posted (edited)

I don’t know much about this, but my inclination would be you should find out which US/NY firms work company-side for satellite companies and the like - lot more satellites go up than anything else. I can confirm PE firms that invest in space stuff will require relatively less specialized knowledge from their deal counsel. Space is cool. Space regulation is a bit more like shipping regulation. 

Edited by theycancallyouhoju
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I knew 2 lawyers at IATA. Pretty sure they were both on contract basis though. Just look at linkedin of the various civil aviation and/or transport organizations.

It is very much a niche field but the aero industry still exists in Montreal.

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On 6/27/2019 at 10:02 AM, Smorr53 said:

So I'm a 0L at CalgLaw and I don't know what type of law I want to end up practicing. I have a background in finance from my undergrad, but what I am truly passionate about is Science, Tech and Space. Space Law stands out to me especially as I think it will be growing market and a field that would provide for an interesting legal career. However, I don't know if it is practical for a Canadian law student to pursue a career in Space Law or even how to go about doing it. Any advice is appreciated !

If you're passionate about science, tech, and space, why not pursue IP? It has a broader scope than space law, which is so niche that I expect nobody in Canada has a practice solely focused on it.

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I imagine space law is a combination of international property law, maritime law, and contract law. So bone up on those? I can't imagine what else it could possibly entail, perhaps some international criminal stuff for hacking and destroying?

In any event, I don't imagine that there's going to be much of a niche for space law as a distinct area of practice that won't just be given to top firms in the sectors I already mentioned. Or in other words, I don't think you could ever open partner partner llp boutique space law firm.

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This is the kind of career that is so niche that the only way to practice it is to go to Harvard..... in the 1970's.

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