At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious, there's no business in which the adage 'knowledge is power' rings truer than the legal business. At the same time, the legal world is constantly in motion; as such a truly terrifying amount of information is produced on a daily basis. Still, maintaining a healthy media diet helps keep you up-to-date on what's going on in the world, and provides insight into the key discussions that don't necessarily make the newspapers.
In any case, you've seen the title of this blog: we've gone through a host of listicles and recommendations to come up with 12 blogs you should consider subscribing to (or at least keep an eye on) in 2021.
Let's dive right into the list!
Blogs to meet every Legal Professional's needs:
1. Above the Law
Above the Law takes a behind-the-scenes look at the world of law, focusing mostly on commentary and views on the news and the people involved rather than the news itself. Above the Law itself hosts its content for big law, law schools, and in-house law professionals, and has tailored sub-blogs for articles concerning small law, legal technology, and government.
Generally speaking, Above the Law is a blog written by lawyers, for lawyers and articles tend to be frank, interesting, and thought-provoking.
Interesting Reads: Nicole Black's article on the impact of COVID-19 on the legal industry's willingness to adopt, and Jordan Rothman's plea for a less adversarial legal profession is food for thought.
2. Expert Institute
Expert Institute assists parties involved in civil litigation to find expert witnesses. Their blog, Insights, offers great write-ups of civil litigation cases, detailing the plaintiff's case as well as possible implications of the case moving forward. All of it paired with a layout and general presentation that makes it a much more pleasant reading experience than court documents typically are.
Although by no means a news outlet, the Expert Institute insights blog is a great second-read shortly after a civil litigation-related story breaks. They often provide a clear summary of the case in question, saving you the trouble of having to go through the legal filings yourself.
Interesting Reads: Anjelica Cappellino's write-up on Google's recent anti-trust charges summarizes the hot water the search engine's find themselves in legally. If you want to see the analysis for a case with more of an impact in terms of jurisprudence, don't miss the article written by Carolyn Casey on Kaupelis v. Harbor Freight Tools USA, Inc., a product liability case that may have significant implications for the balance currently being sought between the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the requirements of discovery in civil cases.
3. Ten Things You Need to Know as In-House Counsel
The tagline for this blog is Twenty Years of Experience in Ten Points, and the blog is exactly that. Sterling Miller has been an in-house lawyer for well over twenty years at this point, and since 2014 he's been posting his insights in the form of ten-point lists his readers can work into their everyday practice. Every post is a top ten, with equal parts thought-provoking and personal. Miller's style is conversational, fast-paced, and is sometimes as much about the process of writing the post and interaction with the reader, as the subject of the post itself.
As a company, LawGeex offers an AI-powered contract review solution. Consequently, in its blog, LawGeex's efforts are focused on compliance, risk mitigation, and the value of technology and automation. The blog's authors tackle subjects ranging from the impact of new legislation to the importance of technology adoption for different sectors.
Like LawGeex, Mitratech provides software products designed to offer risk mitigation and compliance. As one may expect, their blog also focuses on both of those subjects, as well as legal automation, however, the blog also ventures beyond those topics to look at the broader subject of business continuity and resilience. In these uncertain times, with both societal and regulatory pressures forcing changes to organizations, keeping abreast of a blog that approaches these changes with a view to alleviating those pressures may be wise.
Interesting reads: As always, articles with predictions for 2021 offer insight in terms of what to expect, both in terms of out there in the real world as in the form of blog content in the near future. When it comes to compliance, the Mitratech write-up on I-9 immigration forms is quite interesting on a subject that's been a stressor for many a compliance department dealing with immigrant labor.
With legal expenditures on the rise across the board, both legal departments and law firms are forced to show their value. The blog run by Apperio is focused entirely on bringing new ideas with regards to transparency and clarity to this typically murky world. As the saying goes, knowing is half the battle, and with companies increasingly critical of legal expenditures, creating a clear ROI can be key going forward. Apperio's blog provides credence to that idea.
Interesting reads: For law firms, this article about the potential benefits of legal tech innovation as a competitive tool can provide some new ideas. In-house counsel may find the survey write-up on Legal Operations maturity amongst corporate legal departments more compelling.
Law.com is a media platform powering over 18 online legal publications that deliver news, rankings, reports, and strategy. They seek to provide competitive intelligence and insight into opportunities for future success. Law.com doesn't just aggregate the 18 publications, it also organizes them into different sections. There's even a special subsection devoted entirely to LegalTech-related news, analysis, and commentary. Unlike most entries on this list, Law.com does require you to register in order to access the full stories it offers.
Interesting reads: in the analysis department, Frank Ready's look at the rising tide of privacy law across the United States, that is, beyond just California. Straying from the analysis and news, check out Eleanor Weaver's commentary on the AI-powered emancipation of in-house legal teams.
8. McGuireWoods | Password Protected / Subject to Inquiry / Take Stock
One of the world's largest Law Firms, McGuireWoods offers a wide range of practitioner-written blogs that provide commentary, insights, and analysis on (amongst others) government inquiries, data privacy and security, and federal policy. Each sub-blog has its own name, feel and set of contributors, and they are all updated regularly. Password Protected deals with data privacy & security news and trends, Subject to Inquiry focuses on government inquiries and enforcement actions, and Take Stock offers timely insight on federal public affairs.
Interesting Reads: Since this one entry is for three blogs, we'll share one interesting post for each one, starting with Password Protected's overview of the new compliance demands put upon companies by the recently-passed California Privacy Rights and Enforcement Act (CPRA). On Subject to Inquiry, a trend analysis of the DOJ's 2020 False Claims Act Statistics. Finally, the summary of the Coronavirus relief package passed late 2020 on Take Stock provides background information for the 5,600 page 2021 government appropriations bill.
9. National Law Review
Developed by a group of in-house attorneys, the National Law Review online edition is one of the highest volume business law websites in the U.S. Serving as an article-based newswire for a very long list of contributing law firms, schools, regulatory agencies, and professional associations, dozens of articles will be posted on the National Law Review every single day. Every post isn't just a headline either. Typically contributors aren't afraid to go in-depth about the subject they're posting about.
Interesting reads: The National Law Review's posting schedule is such that recommending any one article almost defeats the point of their inclusion. There's an enormous amount of goings-on and expertise out there, and the National Law Review is about as good of a starting point for a deep-dive into a trending topic as any. In order not to break the mold: this write-up about tech priorities in 2021 written by Peter McClelland is interesting, as is this article written by Nikku Khalifian and Jennifer Collins looking at the future of remote litigation both during and after the COVID-19 crisis.
Much like the National Law Review, LexBlog is an aggregator that gathers articles written by over 25,000 bloggers, including over half of the nearly 1,000 blogs from the United States' top 200 law firms. Unlike the National Law Review though, LexBlog makes a more concerted effort to stop their very long list of contributors' work from being overwhelming. They do this quite simply by tagging the articles on subjects. This change is a blessing and a curse, simultaneously focusing and narrowing the range of articles a reader might stumble upon.
Interesting Read: again, like the National Law Review, LexBlog serves more as a jumping-off point for a deep dive than as a destination itself. As LexBlog themselves put it: "[LexBlog] is a launching pad for a community that is passionate about exchanging ideas, sharing opportunities, and making the law more accessible to all." That said, we've committed to this format so here's Kristin Bryan's introduction to the Virginia Data Protection Act, which is set to come into effect on January 1, 2023.
11. Law Technology Today
Launched in 2021 by the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Research Center (ABA-LTRC for less of a mouthful), Law Technology Today intends to provide the legal community with practical guidance for the present and sensible strategies for the future. In accordance with their stated goal, Law Technology Today deals with subjects related to potential improvements in the efficiency, profitability, equality, compliance, and sustainability of the legal profession.
Interesting Reads: In terms of profitability-focused content, Shannon Flynn's listicle of profitability-friendly technologies for law firms is worth a read. For the more technology-minded among us, Nathan Wenzel's three-part series (1,2,3) on finding and implementing new tech solutions into the organization is also quite interesting.
12. In-house Ops
Brought to the internet by the same people who run the Corporate Counsel Business Journal (formerly Metropolitan Corporate Counsel), In-House Ops as a blog seeks to deliver information that is key to career development, law department administration, procurement of legal services, and in-house legal technology. As the name implies, In-House Ops is squarely aimed as one would expect, at in-house counsel.
Interesting Reads: the most recent (at the time of writing) post is an article by Nathan Cemenska, who argues that the legal technology spend by corporate law departments is far too low compared to the expenditure on outside counsel, vendors, and internal expenses. Beyond the recent, Rachel Hadrick's March 2020 effort on the potential reputational damage of social media 'firestorms' is an interesting read for many, and nightmare fuel for compliance officers.
13. ZyLAB Blog
Yes, we said twelve, and it does feel awfully self-congratulatory, but if a blog post can list dozens of competitors, and its readers still go on to notice a 13th option, that has to mean something. ZyLAB offers AI-powered eDiscovery and Legal Hold solutions, and as such our blog mostly deals with legal efficiency, automation and, of course, technology.
Interesting read: the mold was left unbroken before, but picking our own favorite blog posts is a bit much. It's like choosing your favorite chi—try this one.
In all, it's fair to say that the legal profession is lucky to have a vibrant blogging community, especially in terms of depth there is an impressive amount of information available to consume, and a wide variety of perspectives to digest. For a curious legal reader, the problem is not whether or not enough information is available, but how to choose what to read.