In order to adequately represent their clients, lawyers have an ethical obligation to “stay current.” In short, this means lawyers should be aware of the current state of the law in both their specialty practice areas and also in the general practice of law. Staying current also allows a lawyer to contact existing clients when the law changes – this type of contact often results in additional business. Similarly, when competing for new business, a lawyer who is current in the potential client’s industry and regulatory environment is more likely to impress that client and to be awarded the new business.
Law students – it is never too early to begin the practice of staying current – ideally you should perfect this skill while still in law school. Not only will you appear more knowledgeable on job interviews, you will also be better prepared to hit the ground running in your practice area when you land your first legal job.
There are a number of ways to stay current. You can set up alerts in research databases such as Westlaw and Lexis. You can also monitor legal news sources such as New York Law Journal and Law360 (both available on Lexis). For the most recent “breaking news,” though, you should consider following at least a few legal blogs or “blawgs.”
Legal blogs are a great way to stay current and you can search for blogs in both your specialty area and on more general legal topics. If you want to get started finding legal blogs in your area(s) of interest, try: http://blawgsearch.justia.com/, http://www.lxbn.com/, or http://www.abajournal.com/blawgs/
. Each of these websites is a legal blog aggregator – you can search for blogs by practice area, by keyword, by subject area, or by most popular posts.
Finally, take a look at ABA Hall of Fame. This is ABA Journal’s picks of the best legal blogs in 2014. You are sure to find a legal blog of interest on this list – the blogs are generally of very high quality and the subjects are wide-ranging – from legal humor, to foreign law, to the use of technology in a law practice.