Just like I promised last week, it’s December and time for my annual list of top legal blogs for in-house counsel! This is one of my favorite “Ten Things” blogs to write because it gives me a chance to recognize some of the best legal writers out there today. It also means that the year is coming to an end, which in the case of 2020 really cannot happen fast enough. After this blog posts, I’ll see you again toward the end of January 2021 as I am going to take a few weeks off and focus on my next book which is woefully behind schedule – and the ABA keeps sending its black-clad goons to my house to make sure I get back to work (the ABA is ruthless… and well-armed). As usual, I will not list any past “winners” but I do encourage you to go back and check those blogs as well – they are all worth your time. Also, I realized at some point this year that in-house lawyers are truly starting to consume legal information in many different ways other than written blogs. So, for the first time, I am going to point out some podcasts, LinkedIn writers, and Twitter feeds I think you might like. Which is a great reminder for anyone reading this blog: nothing is stopping you from writing your own blogs, posting LinkedIn commentary, or recording your own podcasts. If you have something to say, join in. It’s never been easier to do and your voice is just as important as anyone else’s – and any practical knowledge you can share with others is always welcomed. With no further sermonizing, here is the “Ten Things” 2020 list of top blogs for in-house lawyers:
1. Commercial Litigation Update. From the good folks at Epstein, Becker, Green, the Commercial Litigation Update blog focuses on business litigation and government investigations, two things that should be top of mind for every in-house lawyer. The articles are punchy and well-written and contain a “Key Takeaway” summary at the end. A good example is this recent post on business interruption insurance and COVID-19.
2. Today’s General Counsel. This is actually a website for a magazine of the same name but Today’s General Counsel essential functions as a blog. Not only are there lots of topical articles of interest to in-house lawyers, there are links to back issues of the magazine and to on-demand webinars on a myriad of topics. And it is all free (my favorite word). Here is a recent article on where corporations must litigate, a venue issue currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
3. Socially Aware. The Socially Aware blog is written by legal behemoth Morrison Foerster and is dedicated to issues involving social media, a particularly hot topic here at the end of 2020 as we all start to learn what Section 230 is. The blog describes itself as follows:
[S]ocial media is generating new legal questions at a far faster pace than the law’s ability to provide answers to such questions. In an effort to stay on top of these emerging issues, and to keep our clients and friends informed of new developments, Morrison & Foerster publishes this blog devoted to the law and business of social media.
It’s reach is global, i.e., not just U.S.-based social media issues, and I really enjoyed a recent post on the USPTO’s recent report on artificial intelligence.
4. Data Privacy Dish. I started following Data Privacy Dish earlier this year when the CPRA was a hot topic. It is very well written, practical, and informative. It reminded me a lot of one of last year’s winners, Data Privacy & Security Insights. Then I figured out why: David Zetooney, author of the latter has moved to GreenbergTaurig and started writing the same type of kick-ass privacy blog. If you care at all about data privacy and security issues, be sure to subscribe to this blog. I particularly like David’s short answer posts where he poses a very specific question on privacy and gives a short, concise, helpful answer. Here’s a recent one on whether a litigant can use an access request as a form of quasi-discovery. Great stuff!
5. TechnoLawyer. If you have any interest in the crossroads of technology and the practice of law (and you should), TechnoLawyer.com is the blog for you. Well, I should say “blogs” as TechnoLawyer is a collection of blogs set out in several different newsletters aimed at different subject matter. For example, the TechnoLawyer newsletter deals with specific technology products for lawyers. The BlawgWorld newsletter gathers and categorizes links to the best articles from dozens of publications across more than 30 topics, including cybersecurity, document management, email, practice management, laptops, iPhone, iPad, and working from home. You need to sign-up to pick which newsletters interest you (it is free). The only downside is that sometimes it is almost too much information – even for me. But, I’d rather have that problem than a lack of or poor content.
6. Fast Company Compass. I know Fast Company was on last year’s list, but this year I really got into its Compass newsletter so I wanted to carve it out specifically. The Compass newsletter contains a plethora (I love using that word…) of information about technology, innovation, and design. I always find something useful and fun when I checkout the newsletter. Recent A+ articles include The 15 Best Productivity Apps of 2020 and Secrets of 10 of the World’s Most Productive People.
7. Mondaq.com. Mondaq.com is a content aggregator, in particular it uses artificial intelligence to comb the web and its partners’ content to deliver you customized emails containing links to dozens and dozens of articles on whatever topics of interest you identified when signing up. The articles are written by professionals at law firms and other professional services firms. The content is global in reach, so you can sign up or/search for content by region, by topic, etc. There are webinars and access to comparative law guide on the site as well. Want to compare FinTech law for France, Lebanon, and India? Here you go. And it is all free.
8. Adventures in Corporate Compliance. I think I would have read this blog just for the title alone! David Coddon’s Adventures in Corporate Compliance blog discusses, well… corporate compliance, including data privacy, export compliance, and anti-corruption among other topics. The articles are generally short, informative, and all done with a wry sense of humor. Two recent articles on export compliance and data subject requests are a good place to start. And he uses cartoons so he won me over right then and there.
9. LinkedIn. I told you above that I would get away from the traditional blogs and there is no better place to start than LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a weird animal. It’s an ocean of information mashed with “Facebook for Business.” There’s a lot of crap but there is also a lot of gold to be found – if you know where to dig. Here are a few writers on LinkedIn that I pay attention to and are worth your time to check out and follow:
- Laura Fredrick – Laura has a great page on LinkedIn called #HowtoContract. She writes about a lot of basic contract issues that all in-house lawyers should pay attention to. And she brings solutions to the table, things you can use in your everyday practice. Here is one she wrote about how to be clear on the price of each item in the contract. She has a good niche and it’s one you should follow.
- Lisa Lang – Lisa posts regularly on LinkedIn with Why This, Not That. These are generally short, crisp posts that take an issue and discuss what you should do, what you should not do, and (most importantly) why it matters. Follow #lawyerlisalang to see all of her posts. Lisa is definitely worth following.
- Wendy Schoen – Wendy is a top legal recruiter and posts frequently on LinkedIn. I always enjoy reading her posts on job searching, resumes, and other resources for both lawyers seeking jobs and legal departments looking to hire. Here is one on a data base on all U.S. companies and one on a document “scrubber” for Word documents. Always something interesting with Wendy’s posts!
- Colin Levy – Colin is a true tech evangelist and posts frequently on legal tech issues, especially those that impact in-house lawyers. Here is a post on what is holding back the legal industry from changing more rapidly. Colin also writes a blog titled Notes From the Front Lines of Legal Innovation.
I have not had time to check out this writer’s work on LinkedIn or her blog, but it sounds like she has some interesting things to say – check out Debosmita Nandy and her blog The Five Things Checklist. She is based in India and I think that will bring an interesting perspective to in-house issues.
10. Other. Okay, I know “other” is not very flattering and a bit of a cop out but I decided I needed a bit of a catch-all for other media that does not fall into the traditional blog-o-sphere (sounds like a ride at Tomorrowland, right?). Here are some other people worth your time:
- Mel Scott – Mel is the creator, producer, and host of the “Counsel” podcast. She is the Terry Gross of legal podcasting in my book! Each episode involves her interviewing an in-house lawyer and digging into their career path and what makes them tick. I really enjoyed her discussion with Kate Sherburn, for example. Fascinating listening for anyone interested in the in-house world.
- Chad Main – Chad is the founder of Percipient and the host of the “Technically Legal” podcast. Here is a great episode on why hackers like law firms. All I could think of was “Yikes!”
- Jason Smith – I have known Jason for a long time and he is a true visionary and expert when it comes to legal technology and issues facing in-house lawyers, especially when it comes to artificial intelligence. He is Chair of the State Bar of Texas Corporate Counsel Section and a frequent writer on LinkedIn. But, mostly, I enjoy his Tweets on Twitter. You can find him and follow him @TJSmithEsquire. Jason always has something worthwhile and insightful to say.
- The ACC – of course, no in-house lawyer’s Twitter feed would be complete without following the Association of Corporate Counsel @ACCinhouse. The Twitter feed, LinkedIn posts, and website are always full of great content for in-house lawyers.
Well, there you have it. A bunch of great blogs, LinkedIn writers, Twitter-ers, and podcasts to check out in 2021. Hopefully, one or two will turn into favorites of yours. If you have one to share, please post it as a comment so other readers can check it out as well. People frequently ask me where do I find all of these blogs? A few great sources include Lexology.com and LexBlog.com. Each is worth subscribing to. As always, I want to thank each and everyone one of you who read the blog this past year, especially those who have subscribed/followed it. We are up over 4,500 followers! I truly appreciate that you find the content worth your time, and really enjoy hearing from you with your thoughts and ideas (and thank you for sharing the blog with your colleagues and friends). We are now into year seven of “Ten Things” (wow) and I have a long list of things to write about next year. So, stayed tuned! Finally, I want to wish each of you a productive, safe, and Covid-free 2021. Okay, got to go. The ABA thugs just pulled up outside the house.
December 30, 2020
Two of my books, Ten Things You Need to Know as In-House Counsel – Practical Advice and Successful Strategies and Ten (More) Things You Need to Know as In-House Counsel – Practical Advice and Successful Strategies Volume 2, are on sale at the ABA website (including as e-books). As the ABA says, “All in-house lawyers better own these books!” The ABA is smart – and brutal.
“Ten Things” is not legal advice nor legal opinion and represents my views only. It is intended to provide practical tips and references to the busy in-house practitioner and other readers. If you have questions or comments, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.