Law is a body of rules and principles that govern human behavior within a society. It is enforced by a political authority. Laws are usually based on Roman law or canon law, but can be modified by local culture. The law serves four principal functions: establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes, and protecting liberties and rights. Laws are not necessarily objective, but depend on the perceptions of those in power who make and enforce them. A society that does not have clear laws is a chaotic, dangerous place to live.
A law may be imperative or mandatory, commanding what should be done; prohibitive or restraining from doing what should not be done; or permissive or declaring what can be done without incurring penalty. Laws also provide remedies for those who suffer harm from another person or a corporation. For example, tort law provides compensation to those who have suffered property damage or injury from car accidents, and defamation law protects individuals from untruthful speech that causes loss of reputation.
There are many legal fields, such as contract law, criminal law, civil rights, and corporate law. People study law to become lawyers, judges, or other legal professionals. In general, those who study law want to find a career that allows them to use their knowledge of the law and its systems to help people in all aspects of their lives. Law students learn how to analyze problems and find solutions, develop and present arguments, communicate with others in the courtroom, and take a variety of other classes that prepare them for careers as legal professionals.