Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Traveller Tuesday: Legal Certification

One of my PCs wanted to be a lawyer and asked me how he would go about becoming accredited. Since there were no rules about it, I looked for a precedent and then extrapolated.

My use of Traveller setting and dress falls under
fair use guidelines for both Mongoose and Far Future Enterprises.
On page 15 of the Starports book, there is a handy sidebar which gives us useful definitions of what skill rating mean for medical professionals:
  • a trained first responder has Medic 0.
  • a Paramedic has Medic 1.
  • a Doctor has Medic 2, plus Life Sciences (biology) 1
  • a Surgeon has Medic 3.
  • a Consultant has Medic 3, plus Life Sciences (Biology) 2
  • Specialist Consultants will have additional skills such as Life Sciences (genetics) and Life Sciences (cybernetics), usually at level 2.
(From this I reason that an LPN likely has a Medic skill of 1 or 2, but no Life Sciences, whereas an RN has Life Sciences 0.)

All right, this is handy; it gives me a framework upon which I can hang suppositions. From it we can deduce that legal certification goes something like this:
  • a Legal Assistant has Advocate and Admin 0.
  • a Paralegal has Advocate 1. 
  • a Lawyer has Advocate 2, plus Language (Vilani) and likely Diplomat 1-2 as well. 
  • Corporate lawyers would have Science or Trade skills for their particular areas of expertise.
Certification, of course, would depend upon what branch of law was chosen; civil and criminal law will depend upon the law level of individual planets, but Imperial Law (which, like the law of the Medes and the Persians, altereth not) is good throughout the Imperium. 

But now this means that the Advocate skill needs Specialties!
  • Advocate-0 is the legal version of advanced first aid training. It provides a basic understanding of legal terminology and theory, and knowledge of how (and where) to look up cases, statutes, and precedents. Basic paperwork is also included so that an advocate-0 knows how legal systems across the Imperium (in broad strokes) are organized and operate, and so can write legal forms like motions and briefs, file criminal complaints or lawsuits, etc. 
  • Imperial Law is the kind most player characters are likely to learn, as it is the "law between the stars" and covers the most territory. It concerns itself mainly with interstellar trade and admiralty law, along with the few crimes which the Imperium will not countenance -- such as slavery, genocide trafficking in Ancient artifacts, etc. Other important concepts covered here are salvage, piracy, and extradition. 
  • Military Law is law as it applies to members of the armed services -- or to civilians during times of martial law. This is one of those "You don't need it often, but when you need it, you REALLY need it" skills -- such as when you've been caught looting an Ancient base in an interdicted zone and are facing summary execution. Given that the Navy enforces Imperial Law, any advocate without Military Law specialization facing a military tribunal may use one-half their rating in the Imperial Law specialty instead of the default 0. 
  • Noble Law is concerned mainly with rules of inheritance, fealty, and domain -- and domain can be very large indeed, as Archdukes have domain over 4 adjacent sectors of space. Anyone taking this specialty needs a Social Status of 9 or better to be effective, and several ranks of Diplomat just to be safe. 
  • International Law is a specialized merging of Imperial and Noble Law that deals with treaties between the Imperium and other polities such as the Zhodani Consulate and the Solomani Confederation. This is the kind of thing that diplomats do, and as such this skill is used to stop wars -- or start them. Knowledge of the polity's native language is necessary, as is Diplomat. Persuade and Deception are also useful. 
Everything above this line applies throughout Imperial Space and requires taking a Bar Exam (Advocate roll 8+) at any Class A or B starport. 

Everything below this line applies only to individual systems, and the advocate must be certified or otherwise be granted court privilges before being allowed to work there. 
  • Criminal Law.  We've all seen Law & Order. Streetwise is a good skill to have for this.
  • Civil Law. We've all seen The Practice, too. 
  • Domestic Law. Ditto Divorce Court.
  • Business Law. This is really dreary stuff involving trademark, copyright, intellectual property, etc. Court cases involving Imperial Megacorporations which take place outside of a single system are handled under Imperial Law, above. 

Next week I'll look at medical specialties. 

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