National Security Law: Becoming an expert

September 11, 2001 changed the nation’s concept of national security. The emergence of terrorist attacks, religious extremism, and irregular warfare challenged policy markers, elected officials to reconsider national security policies.

Lawyers with expertise in national security law contributed to the national dialogue and helped shape the policies we have today. As national security priorities continue to evolve, policy makers continue to rely on national security lawyers to adapt to pressing changes.

“National security law is both an exciting practice area, and it is growing significantly across both the public and the private sectors,” a Georgetown University Law Center representative wrote in an email. “Much of the work is in government, but there are important national security specialties in the private sector too, including cyber work, and export controls to name just a few.”

National security lawyers work for defense contractors, consulting firms, think tanks, the military and the federal government. Bioterrorism, cyber law, intelligence law and foreign relations are just some of the compelling issues that national security law experts encounter on a daily basis. 

To gain expert knowledge in national security law, practicing attorneys may want to consider an LL.M. in National Security Law like the one offered at Georgetown University Law Center. Students at Georgetown Law engage in discussions on the value of privacy and the fourth amendment, work through crisis simulations. Students also have the opportunity to travel to Cuba to observe detainee proceedings and military commissions at Guantanamo Bay.

“If a lawyer is already practicing in the subject area, the LLM can give them a valuable credential for advancement in their career,” Georgetown Law wrote. “If the lawyer is practicing in a different area of law, the LLM will give them both the expertise they need, and demonstrates a commitment to the change in their career.”