It can be difficult to stay on top of the changes in the legal field when you’re busy actually working in the legal field. After all, time is a resource just as precious as money can ever be. Because of this, a lot of paralegals find themselves having to scramble around using almost all of their free time to hunt down information, articles, reports, and the like in order to stay competitive in the legal fiend. Add in the fact that it can be far harder for professionals to find any good resources quickly and you’ve got quite the headache when trying to stay competitive.
With this in mind, there are 10 very good resources that can help keep you up to date in the legal field. Each of these websites pass several small tests to ensure that you can get the most out of your searches. There are three big resources to consider when trying to do research in the legal field, namely time, money, and effort, that you need to conserve. With that in mind, every one of these sites is completely free to access and browse. After all, why spend a couple hundred dollars getting memberships to several different resource sites if you don’t have to. Secondly, these sites are ten of the easiest to navigate. Nobody wants to use a service that feels like pulling teeth to get at the information they need for their jobs, after all. Last, but not least, these sites were all chosen to save you as much time as possible. Whether it’s by hosting podcasts you can listen to while driving or simply getting a lot of different information together in one place, each of these resources has some trick to help save you time. Now, these resources are given in no particular order. It was difficult enough to prune it down to ten options, figuring out which of these were the best would be practically impossible.
Legal Talk Network
Legal Talk Network is a good place to start for anybody who’s just looking to catch up on the world of law in their spare time. They host several different podcasts that you can download at any time to listen to on the road, while working out, or whenever you prefer. These podcasts are done by legal professionals and cover a huge variety of legal topics. You can subscribe to any of these podcasts via iTunes or an RSS feed, which means that once you find a podcast you’re a fan of, you don’t have to come back and constantly check for new content. That being said, do take a long look around the site. It wouldn’t be too large an exaggeration to say that the different podcasts have covered practically every topic in the legal field at some point. If you’re looking to learn more about the field, and don’t mind taking a bit of time doing it, this is definitely a website worth checking out. Check them out at http://www.legaltalknetwork.com.
Nolo is a bit more of a straightforward research website. They offer a slew of different resources to look through, a wide selection of legal forms for free download, and even a legal directory if you need to talk to a lawyer or someone else in the field. A nice bonus is that they also offer books and programs for sale, sometimes cheaper than you’d find at places like Amazon. Nolo is designed mostly for people not currently in the legal profession, however, and is thus best for people new to the field. You can find their website at http://www.nolo.com.
The Paralegal Mentor
This website is a bit tougher to classify then some of the others. On the one hand, it’s made by a single person – Vicki Voisin, ACP – and the page you first see when you get to the site looks like one of those “work from home” scams with its mentioning how you need to “improve your career”, among other things, and the strangely blank color and background scheme. Scratch the surface just a bit, however, and you’ll find easy access to several great articles and a few really useful resources. This is more of a resource for paralegals who are having trouble with keeping everything in order but, even if everything’s great with you, it’s still a recommended read. The website is at http://paralegalmentor.com/.
Find law is actually two sites rolled into one. The basic site, for your average layman, features a nice legal dictionary, access to several legal forms, a lawyer search that can be narrowed both by area and by type of law practiced, and even a free case search function. On top of that, there’s also a wide range of legal articles, a legal news area, and something of a blog setup for prominent attorneys where you can see legal issues being discussed. The professional site, which requires a free account signup, has access to all of that, of course, but also offers a few new features. The search engine for researching cases, for example, is quite a bit more robust. There are also a few resources for job searches in the legal field and for practice management. The standard website is at http://www.findlaw.com/ while the professional version can be found at http://lp.findlaw.com/.
If standard news format sites are more your thing, ABA Journal might be a perfect fit for you. They do have a podcast, which is fairly good, and legal blogs, which are also rather well written and informative, but the news feed is the real draw here. Most legal websites that post news tend to do a daily update, maybe twice a day, but ABA seems to have a new article up every couple of hours. If staying on top of the day to day happenings of the legal field is what you want, look no further. You can find them at http://www.abajournal.com/.
Now, this is the blog for the tech head legal professional. This blog is written by Tom Mighell and the man definitely knows his technology and how to use it in the legal field. Add into that the fact that his blogs are also remarkably clever, well written, and sometimes even downright humorous, and you have a recipe for success for anybody who prefers reading with a smile on their face. Even if you prefer serious reading, however, his blog is still worth checking out if you’ve been considering bringing your practice into the modern age. Check out this blog at http://www.inter-alia.net/.
The Empowered Paralegal
TEP is another rather well written blog, though much dryer than some others, and contains a mind boggling number of articles. No matter what you’re currently trying to research, it’s almost guaranteed that TEP has written an article or 12 on it. It’s written by one man, Robert E. Mongue, and has been running pretty much nonstop since July 2009. That may not seem like a long time to most but, on the internet, it’s a lifetime for something done by one person. You can check out the blog at http://theempoweredparalegal.com/.
Law Practice Tips Blog
This is less of a blog for legal research then it is a blog in the more traditional sense. This isn’t what you’d want to read in order to study case histories and the like, you’ve already seen several great sites for that, but it is a good place to go if you want some tips on managing your practice. It’s also a good source for information on how the law is catching up to modern technology for the purposes of the legal professional. It makes for a good bit of reading for the professional who wants to get in some leisure reading while still keeping an eye towards their job. You can find it at http://jimcalloway.typepad.com/.
The California Litigator
Don’t be fooled by the name into thinking this is only of interest to those practicing law in California. While the author, Barbara Haubrich-Hass, does practice law there, she has a number of great tips and rules that every paralegal, new and old, would do well to read up on. These range from how to keep your appointment book in order to legal research tips and the like. Overall, a useful resource for anyone practicing law. Find this website at http://www.thecalifornialitigator.com/.
Legal Industry News
A part of the larger website, law.com, this is a collection of the law related legal news stories. While law.com itself is a great resource for news, LTN deserves special mention just because of how difficult it can be to keep up with modern law regarding technology. News about everything from E-discovery to the technology you’d find useful in your office is right here in an easy-to-search format, just waiting for your to look into it. You can find it at http://www.law.com/the-legal-industry on http://www.law.com/jsp/law/index.jsp.