Well, it’s time for the last “Ten Things” blog of 2019. It’s been a pretty good year for the blog: it passed five years of “bloggership” and is approaching 4,000 subscribers, it was named one of the Top Thirty Legal Blogs by SimplyLegal, the post on “How to Read a Contract” was the most popular article of 2019 on InCounsel Weekly, and the ABA published the second “Ten Things” book. It will be hard to top 2019. I know I have said it many times but it bears repeating, I am eternally grateful to everyone who takes time to read the blogs, to pass them along to colleagues and friends, to re-post them on LinkedIn or Twitter, or – most importantly – takes the time to comment or drop me a note. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
As usual, I will end the year with my list of the ten best blogs for in-house lawyers. And, as usual, I will not repeat any of the blogs I picked for 2015, 2016, 2017, or 2018. But, I highly recommend that you take a minute to refresh yourself with these past “winners” as they are all still worthy of your time. The good news is that there is a vast universe of blogs out there. I read a lot of them and over the course of the year I file some away as particularly noteworthy, especially for anyone who practices as an in-house lawyer. A good blog can be a lifesaver when you need to get up to speed on something quickly and you do not have the time or money to hire outside counsel or access expensive legal resources. Without further ado, here is my 2019 list of the top ten blogs for in-house lawyers:
1. Bryan Cave Data Privacy & Security Insights. David Zetoony and team write one kick-ass data privacy blog. I find myself constantly going to Insights when I have a data privacy question, especially during 2019 as I have been working for clients on matters touching on the California Consumer Privacy Act. Not only does this blog have great timely short articles on privacy issues, but it also contains lengthy white papers, FAQs, and has a neat “binder” feature where you can connect several different Insights blogs and materials into a single binder. If you deal with data privacy and security issues, this is a blog to keep top of mind.
2. Hot Off the Hill. When there is craziness in Washington, D.C. (and when is there not?), you need to stay on top of what’s going on with the Congress and with the White House. Greenberg Traurig’s government affairs blog keeps you up to date on the latest news out of Washington. They cover the gamut of topics, from data privacy legislation to impeachment to immigration reform. And they provide an insider’s view of behind the scenes Washington, including potential agency and cabinet appointments, along with a topic index so you can search by topics like “legislation” and the “budget.” If your company does business in the U.S., you should be paying attention to what’s going on in D.C. and this blog is a great way to do just that.
3. Trading Secrets. This is the Seyfarth firm’s blog on trade secrets, non-competes, and computer fraud. In addition to their own articles covering the gamut of federal and state trade secret cases and legislation, the authors provide a sidebar with links to over a dozen other blogs and resources on trade secrets and non-competes. I find it refreshing – and tremendously helpful – that the authors are willing to send you off to someone else’s blog if you need more or they cannot provide what you need. That alone makes this blog worth checking out.
4. BanyanRFP News and Insights. If you use – or want to use – request for proposals (“RFPs”) to select legal counsel, this blog contains a wealth of useful information, including posts on such topics as “Incumbents: Love ‘Em or List ‘Em?” “What Your Law Firm’s Not Telling You,” and “Leveraging Competition: Law Firms Expect It.” There is a handy category index to help you find what you are looking for. Really insightful stuff here. You can also check out Banyan’s RFP automation tool though that’s not required to access the content.
5. In-House Ops. Brought to you by the good people from Corporate Counsel Business Journal (formerly Metropolitan Corporate Counsel), 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!
6. FastCompany. Not a legal blog but one that covers the intersection of business and technology. As an in-house lawyer, that is something that should interest you. Well-written and practical, this blog/site covers categories such as technology and the future of design, work life, and general technology. The authors also produce a podcast and provide numerous ways to take in their content.
7. 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 it is very likely your company 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 new mandate.
8. Lawyer Monthly. This is a general-purpose blog/website for lawyers (in-house and outside). While tied to a monthly magazine (that you can read online), the content is updated daily and is broken into categories and regions so there is typically something of interest to everyone regardless of location. There is a legal jobs section, video section, and – my favorite – a travels and lifestyles section that nicely mixes legal issues or legal lifestyle issues with interesting content like retirement planning, vacation planning, stress relief, and checklists for the company holiday party.
9. MS-JD. We have a daughter who will enter law school next fall and I have recommended this blog to her. It’s managed and published by women for women in law – from law school to those just starting out in their careers. Recent posts include “What Is the Number One Piece of Career Advice You Received,” “Does Gender Play a Role in Attorney Ethics,” and “You’ve Landed a Job In-House, Now What?” Superb content for any lawyer but, in particular, women lawyers trying to navigate a traditionally male-dominated profession.
10. AI Trends. I know you did not expect me to list ten blogs and not include at least one that focuses on artificial intelligence. Right again, readers! AI Trends is my new favorite blog on AI. While not focused on legal issues per se, it contains a lot of great content to help you understand AI and its practical application to everyday business and other issues. The blog also posts white papers, free webinars, and other materials to help you get a deeper understanding of AI without needing a degree from MIT. I’ll put it this way – if I can make sense of these articles and materials, anyone can!
So, there you have it, my picks for ten blogs all in-house lawyers should check out. I hope that you take a look at them over the holidays and that you find one or two that are of interest to you and your daily practice, or perhaps you’ll be inspired to find different blogs that cover similar topics. Regardless, there are many great blogs out there and it’s a pleasure for me to be able to recommend these ten to you. I am looking forward to 2020 and covering a lot of new ground with my “Ten Things” blog. Keep sending me suggestions and your feedback, I do read and consider everything you send. Wishing all of you a safe and prosperous new year. See you in January!
December 30, 2019
Big news! Ten (More) Things You Need to Know as In-House Counsel – Practical Advice and Successful Strategies Volume 2 came out last month! It’s my second book based on this blog series. As the ABA says, “All in-house lawyers need to own this book!” Click here to buy it.
I have three published three other books: Ten Things You Need to Know as In-House Counsel – Practical Advice and Successful Strategies, The Evolution of Professional Football, and The Slow-Cooker Savant. I am also available for speaking engagements, coaching, and consulting.
“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.
 As always, I do not receive anything for recommending these blogs. I just think they are worth the time of in-house lawyers. Also, the blogs are in no particular order.