Global law firm Hogan Lovells and others have turned a niche area of law and policy into a growing practice area that is taking advantage of a quickly-developing area of technology, thanks to new federal funding opportunities and a race for technology use case approvals.

Quickly becoming the next big thing in both the consumer and commercial markets, demand and use cases for unmanned aerial vehicles—drones—is growing at a fast pace. Drones can be used as toys, they can assist maintenance crews monitor offshore oil rigs and other hard-to-reach infrastructure, and they have myriad defense and security uses. Analysts at market research firm Brandessence put the drone market at a compound annual growth rate of 12.27%, reaching $40.9 billion by 2027.