Last year was highlighted by new laws legalizing marijuana; a failed legal challenge to Obamacare; heated discussions over tax policy; charges of money laundering at a large bank; and a renewed debate about gun policy in the wake of several tragic mass shootings. But along the way, we Americans also managed to gawk at Kim Kardashian, laugh at various YouTube mash-ups of “Call Me Maybe,” and generally take our minds off the more troubling news stories of the year.
But at FindLaw, all that matters to us is what matters to our readers, who come to our site for actionable legal guidance. So, without further ado, here are the top 10 search terms at FindLaw.com for 2012 (with relevant links for each):
- Harassment - As with other terms that ranked high last year, we sincerely hope that sexual harassment (or harassment of any kind) is not on the rise. It ranked third in 2011.
- Fraud - Fraud can take many forms, from banks’ misrepresentation of mortgage-backed securities, to bogus workers’ compensation claims. This also ranked second in 2011.
- Divorce - While it doesn’t appear that the divorce rate has gone down in any appreciable way, this term was ranked first the previous year.
- Common Law - The term “common law” refers to age-old laws that were enforced in England and the U.S. colonies prior to the American Revolution.
- Second Degree Murder - This term didn’t make it on the top 10 list for 2011, but it most likely got attention in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin shooting that tested the limits of Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law.
- Child Support - Child support is always a popular topic at FindLaw.com, but the term saw slightly more action in 2012 than in the previous year.
- Negligence - This term typically is used in the context of civil liability, such as in cases of medical malpractice or a social host’s failure to prevent a drunk guest from driving home. Criminal negligence refers to the failure to prevent a foreseen event that, for example, results in the death of another.
- Assault - As with negligence, assault has both a criminal and civil component. Generally, it is the threat of violence, causing fear in the victim (while battery is the actual infliction of violence against another).
- Murder - On the bright side, this term was much less popular last year than in 2011. We all know what murder is, but it can get confusing when different degrees of murder and plausible defenses to such charges are brought into the discussion.
- Manslaughter - Like murder, manslaughter involves the taking of another person’s life. But it is a less-severe charge, reserved for unintentional or “heat of the moment” acts.
We look forward to another exciting year in the legal world, and will continue listening to your requests. As always, come back to see what is new at FindLaw.com in 2013.