Well, here we are at the end of another year. I hope all of you are having a wonderful holiday season. As usual, I like to take a few minutes every December to reflect back on the year and take stock of where we are with the “Ten Things” blog. It’s been a busy year for me, but I have enjoyed every minute of it. I have published my fifth book, Showing the Value of the Legal Department: More Than Just a Cost Center, I have been a guest on several podcasts (thanks!), I have put on a large number of presentations (live and via webinar), and – of course, I keep cranking out the blog. Somehow, we’ve already started “Ten Things” year number eight! As my mom often asks, “How the hell did that happen?” And I am excited for 2022, with plenty of things to write about for at least one more year. That said, I always love getting (and writing about) suggestions from you, so feel free to send them my way.
As usual, we will end the year with what traditionally has been a post about the ten best legal blogs for in-house counsel. I enjoy finding and reading the work of great writers, especially the up-and-coming “next gen.” They have a lot to say and it’s worth reading! Like last year, I am going to shake things up a bit and add non-traditional bloggers, i.e., podcasts and LinkedIn writers to my list. I am also going to (finally) list my “Top Ten All-Time Hall of Fame Legal Blogs,” just to give some love to blogs I am still reading after many years. Sometimes you just have to reward the wonderfulness of sticking around (right, Boomer?)! So, with no further ado, this edition of “Ten Things” sets out my 2021 list of best blogs (and other media) for in-house counsel:
1. Contract Nerds. I’ll admit it. I am a nerd. And I love contracts. I am the perfect audience for this fantastic blog by Nada Alnajafi. Well, it’s not just Nada – though she runs the site and writes a lot of the content – there are many other contributors to Contract Nerds, the self-proclaimed “[H]ome for all things contracts, by and for attorneys, procurement specialists, and contract negotiators.” If you work at all with contracts, subscribe to this blog and follow it on LinkedIn. And I am very excited for Nada’s book on contract redlining coming out in 2022. During this time of goodwill toward others, if we all knew how to redline properly, the world would truly be a better place.
2. Advertising Law Blog. It’s funny how often advertising law issues arise as an in-house lawyer. It is one of those specialty areas that you do not appreciate until you need it (e.g., Marketing goes rogue). When I need help with advertising law issues, my first stop is advertising law specialists Frankfurt Kurnit’s Advertising Law blog. Sure, they could use a snappier title, but this blog is jammed packed with advertising law updates and has a slick, eye-catching layout. The blog is 100% dedicated to advertising (and ad tech) law developments – no filler! The authors post pretty much every day (which is unusual for law firm blogs) and the writing is topical and crisp. And I love the topics. My most recent favorite is “Can Your Thanksgiving Day Parade Float Communicate False Advertising Claims?” Apparently, someone took The King’s Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Rolls bakery to task over just this issue. Check it out to see how “Big Bakery” fared.
3. RIPS Law Librarian Blog. Okay, settle down and stop giggling. Yes, I am indeed recommending a blog written by law librarians. Why? Because it has a lot of great content and I used to work at the law library at Washington University in St. Louis while attending law school, so I have a soft spot for a vastly under-appreciated vocation. While there are some pretty hardcore law librarian posts on the Law Librarian blog (shock), there is a lot of other content that is spot on for in-house lawyers, such as “Presenting …. Five Alternatives to Powerpoint” and “Analyze This” (how to use data visualization in your writing and presentations). I know it is an unconventional choice but check it out and see if you don’t find something useful to your everyday practice. As Marx and Engels wrote, “Librarians of the world unite!”
4. The Fellow Blog. Finally, a blog about meetings! And you know how much I like to write about meetings (and productivity generally). If you want to get better at both, this is the blog for you. Sure, it’s tied to pitching the Fellow.app meetings tool, but the content is simply too good to pass up because of that (and what blog isn’t tied to some type of marketing when you think about it?). If you find yourself wanting to conduct or participate in better meetings, or be more productive, the Fellow Blog is full of great ideas and suggestions, like “The Best Time to Hold Meetings for Better Productivity,” “How to Make Remote Employees Feel Included and Engaged (12 Best Practices),” and “How CEOs Manage Time.” Great stuff!
5. Blockchain and Digital Assets. This is a monthly DLA Piper newsletter that seeks to “help companies identify important and significant legal developments governing the use and acceptance of blockchain technology, smart contracts and digital assets.” I wrote about the growing importance of blockchain and Bitcoin for in-house lawyers earlier this year, and the Blockchain and Digital Assets newsletter is a terrific resource to help learn about and understand the issues associated with the digital frontier. The newsletter covers digital developments around the globe (not just the USA) and provides links to other resources, including white papers and webinars dealing with blockchain, Bitcoin, etc.
6. The Meybe Blog. Meyling “Mey” Ly Ortiz is in-house at Toyota Motor North America and has quickly become one of my favorite bloggers. I find most of her stuff at the Meybe blog, but she also writes (or republishes a lot of her content) on Above the Law. Regardless of where you find her, read her posts. They are easy to read and highly informative, clearly the voice of experience of someone who sits in the chair and writes about things of importance and interest to in-house lawyers everywhere. I particularly enjoyed her posts on “Pregnancy Disclosure – In-House Edition,” “The Secret Skills of Super In-House Counsel,” and “The Competency of Curiosity.” I love this!
7. Bloomberg In-House Counsel Blog. The Bloomberg In-House Counsel blog is exactly what you would expect from a source like Bloomberg – excellent content, well-written, and wide coverage of issues of importance to in-house lawyers. And it’s free! I always find something of interest whenever this blog hits my inbox on Monday mornings. Granted, it’s all pretty general and high-level, but it’s still great content. I particularly like the “Compliance” section, well organized and always topical. There are links to podcasts and webinars as well. Definitely worth checking out.
8. SlashGear. If you like technology and gadgets, or if you serve as the family (including mom and dad) “IT tech” when things go awry with laptops, printers, internets, smartphones, or whatever, SlashGear is the blog for you. It is not legal-specific, but given how much in-house lawyers depend on technology and given how much we all work from home where tech support can be spotty or simply not available, this blog can save the day when you are trying to figure out how to solve a technology problem. Here are some recent gems: “The Best Way to Destroy an Old Hard Drive” (apparently, it is not a pound of C-4 and I regret not reading this one sooner), “The Best Way to Safely Clean Your Airpods,” and “How to Fix Your Android Phone’s Poor Battery Life.” Another excellent tech blog choice is the Computerworld blog, which is much more focused on solving technology problems. Either way, you cannot go wrong.
9. Other. Well, crap. I am already at Number 9 and still have to list my LinkedIn, podcasts, and Hall of Hame favorites. My lack of counting foresight has bitten me in the ass yet again (where is “The Count” when you really need him?). So, here’s my plan. I will list my favorite LinkedIn commentators and favorite podcasts here under “Other” and then use Number 10 for my blog Hall of Fame. For the below, I am going to skip my rule about not listing past “winners” and just list the people I pay attention to, i.e., people who have a lot of substance to add on issues that matter to in-house lawyers – even if I mentioned them last year:
- LinkedIn – here is who I pay attention to on LinkedIn and it is worth your time to seek them out, connect, and follow (note that I already mentioned Mey Ly Ortiz and Nada Alnajafi above):
- Laura Frederick – “How to Contract”
- David Bushby – “InCounsel Weekly”
- Lisa Lang – “Why This, Not That”
- Colin Levy – Legal tech evangelist!
- Dennis Garcia – Microsoft Legal
- Sarah Johnston – “Briefcase Coach”
- Anna Lozynski – Anna Lozynski Advisory
- Benjamin White – “Crafty Counsel”
- Veronica Canton – Legal tech/Data privacy
- Olga Mack – “ParleyPro”
- Annie Little – “JD Nation”
- Podcasts – here are legal podcasts I enjoy listening to:
There are certainly more than I have listed above. But, that is what next year is for!
10. Hall of Fame. I have been promising to do this for a while and it’s time to get around to it damn it. If you have followed the blog for a while, you know that I do not repeat “winners” from past best blogs lists. I keep trying to find new ones to share. But, that doesn’t mean that I lack for favorites, i.e., blogs that I come back to again and again and again. Here are my top ten “Hall of Fame” selections from past blog lists. These are all worth your time to check out:
- Presnell on Privileges. My all-time, favorite, Number 1 blog! The “Master of Privileges,” Todd Presnell, discusses issues and case law around various privileges such as attorney-client and work product, as well as those not as well-known, such as accountant-client, common interest, self-critical analysis, insurer-insured, etc. There is a very handy index as well. A must for every in-house lawyer.
- Adams on Contract Drafting. Excellent posts on common and not-so-common issues regarding drafting contracts. Sometimes he writes about specific contract clauses, sometimes it may be just a common phrase or sentence used frequently in contracts. Always interesting and always helpful.
- The Lawyerist. Jam-packed with practical tips, articles, and other odds and ends with a focus on technology for lawyers, this is one blog I read virtually every day. I especially like the tips on using Microsoft Office products (Word, PowerPoint, etc.) and the latest and greatest apps for lawyers.
- Attorney at Work. This blog contains work produced by a number of writers and it tends to cover ways to be more productive every day, including helpful reviews of new technology. Their motto is “One Really Good Idea Every Day for Enterprising Lawyers.” And they live up to that motto. Great monthly columns, free e-zines, and survey reports, “ask the expert,” and other really helpful articles and tips.
- In-House Blog. The name may be simple, but this is a great blog. The focus is on all issues surrounding in-house legal jobs. Lots of helpful articles on topics like “what’s it like to go in-house,” salary surveys, how to get promoted, and GC “ROI.” And it also is the site responsible for “GoInHouse.com” which is, in my opinion, the best site when you’re searching for an in-house job (or you have one to post). But, you don’t have to be searching for an in-house job to find this blog useful.
- Deal Lawyers. I wish I had known about the Deal Lawyers blog years ago. It is a truly superior resource for any in-house lawyer involved in M&A transactions. The only potential drawback is that it’s pricey to subscribe to it (though there is a free trial period available). This means it’s probably something only those who do a lot of transactions will find worthwhile.
- In-House Ops. Brought to you by the good people from the Corporate Counsel Business Journal, this blog focuses on legal operations – one of the hottest topics for in-house legal departments. The blog covers legal department administration, career development, procurement of legal services, and legal technology for in-house departments. This is a must-read blog for in-house lawyers.
- Strategic Planning and Management Insights. It’s a mouthful, but this is a fascinating blog that covers strategic planning and management issues in short, informative blog pieces on “strategy” that typically contain checklists and materials, including links to YouTube videos for more in-depth content. Since your company likely wants its in-house lawyers to be more strategic this is the perfect blog to help you find ideas and ways to accomplish – or stay on top of – this mandate.
- Today’s General Counsel. This is actually a website for a magazine of the same name but Today’s General Counsel essentially functions as a blog. Not only are there lots of topical articles of interest to in-house lawyers, but there are also links to back issues of the magazine and on-demand webinars on a myriad of topics.
- Data Privacy Dish. I started following Data Privacy Dish last year when the CPRA was a hot topic. It is very well written, practical, and informative. If you care at all about data privacy and security issues, be sure to subscribe to this blog. I particularly like the short answer posts where the author poses a very specific question on privacy and gives a short, concise, helpful answer. Here’s a recent one on a cross border data transfer master class.
That’s all I have for you today. I hope you find something worth reading, following, or listening to in the pile above. The holiday break/beginning of a new year is the perfect time to try a few new things. I am pleased to make some suggestions for you to try and I am excited to see what new voices appear on the horizon next year. Which is a great point: if you have something to say or add to the discourse, say it! Nothing is stopping you from doing so, but you. And I am looking forward to writing more blogs in 2022 and thanks for sticking around for the ride so far. I truly appreciate it. Best wishes for 2022 and stay well!
December 30, 2021
My fifth book, Showing the Value of the Legal Department: More Than Just a Cost Center is available now! As the ABA says, “Buy this book or else…” The ABA is serious about this. And they know where you live! You can buy it HERE.
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 now at the ABA website (including as e-books).
“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, ideas for a post, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or, if you would like a CLE for your team on this or any topic in the blog, contact me at email@example.com.
 Seriously, what generation are we on now? Generation Z? Generation Alpha, Gen Beta?
 Psst… buy my books damn it…