Perhaps you are thinking this question is crazy. As I will explain, with a little imagination it isn’t at all.
If our species plans to colonise the red planet, (just like when settlers sailed for New England 400 years ago) then, sooner or later, we will need to send people with skills to build a society and not just to build the accommodation it will live in. Society loves to hate lawyers – yet it needs lawyers to thrive.
Of course if you use the wrong lawyer then it is likely to be a source of regret, frustration and financial loss which you might take a long time to get over. This naturally causes a deep mistrust of lawyers as a whole. Compounding this factor is the tendency for human nature to focus on sharing bad experiences more than good ones. There really isn’t much to talk about if the story goes: “Hey, my lawyer sorted it all out quickly and life moved on”.
Resources of energy and time on Mars will be at a premium whilst life fights to establish a permanent thriving base. Whilst the early colonists develop the resources for a future Martian society, they will be constantly fighting to ensure that what they consume is always less than what they create. The blunt truth is that the survival of everyone on Mars requires highly efficient and co-operative hard work, otherwise they (and their aim for a permanent civil society) will perish.
If they succeed, a time will come when two factors are present. First, Martian society is distinct enough that it no longer wishes to be governed by Earth in all of its civil functions. Secondly, either the community grows too diverse for each member to be chosen on the basis that they possess highly attuned (and thus rare) social skills, or the colony will be too big to allow intimate acquaintance between all members so as to suppress conflict. At either point, it is likely that imposed dispute resolution or ad-hoc forms of mediation will be unsustainable.
This is when the first lawyer on Mars (or more appropriately the first two lawyers and a judge) will get the call to go.
Even then, they will only justify their consumption of resources if they offer a net contribution to a Martian society. This can only be though offering exceptional qualities of knowledge, integrity, the ability to get to the heart of any dispute quickly in a supremely efficient way as well as professional competence to construct and advance a case whilst co-operating with the other side to achieve a swift, satisfactory and permanent outcome. It goes without saying they will also need to have a huge love for travel.
It should be every lawyer’s aim to be worthy of that first ticket to Mars…
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Article by Dan Sherlock, Senior Associate, Griffin Law