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Online Resources For New Lawyers

Many of the most popular search queries that people use to reach Associate’s Mind fall into one of these two categories:

Growth/Positive Mindset

  • how can a new lawyer succeed
  • how to be a good lawyer
  • how to become a good advocate
  • how successful trial lawyers conduct themselves
  • how can a young lawyer make it
  • being a good lawyer

Fixed/Negative Mindset

  • why i’m a terrible lawyer
  • graduate lawyer mistakes
  • why do I fail as a lawyer
  • young lawyer struggling
  • loser new attorney
  • hate my law job

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That these are such regular search queries are a big reason why I started Associate’s Mind and wrote my book, The Marble and The Sculptor. I wanted an avenue to explore what it meant to be a new lawyer, through topics that I found interesting: writing, psychology, research, technology, professional development, etc.

While many lawyers are interested in these topics as well, just as many lawyers are just simply looking for guidance. There are so many lawyers, and the job market is in such turmoil, that new lawyers are without assistance or mentorship they might have once had. So what do they do? The same thing they do when they have any other problem or need to find some piece of information – they turn to the internet. See all those search queries above.

Of course, the internet isn’t a replacement for finding like-minded peers and mentors to help you with growing and learning as a new lawyer. That should be a new lawyer’s first priority: finding others who are similarly interested in aggressively improving themselves. As Jim Rohn said:

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Extend that a bit, which websites do you spend the most time on? Food for thought. Regardless, there is no replacement for having real world relationships with lawyers who are local to you. But in the absence of such relationships, or in supplement to them, there are a number of resources online that can hopefully help you on your way to being a better lawyer.

Also, keep up to date with new information posted on Associate’s Mind by following me on TwitterLiking Associate’s Mind on Facebook, or subscribing here:

The Legal Blogosphere

These are blogs by lawyers who provide information and commentary on the industry and profession at large, as well as their own niche topics. See this post by Max Kennerly’s for a brief overview of types of “blawgs” (also see Legal Blogging and the Rhetorical Genre of Public Legal Writing by Emory Law Prof Jennifer Romig if you want to go deep). In the past few years, the landscape of the blawgosphere has changed substantially. Many once frequent law bloggers have gone to pasture. But there are still a number of good ones out there. And a few new resources have begun to develop in that time as well.

  • Abnormal Use – Nominally about products liability, but tends to cover broader areas of practice, from a defense perspective.
  • Associate’s Mind You’re here! That’s where you are! Be a better lawyer.
  • China Law Blog – Dan Harris on all things biz in China.
  • Defending People – Texas attorney Mark Bennett on the tao of criminal-defense trial lawyering.
  • Lawyerist  – Focused on running small firms. Features a stable of rotating contributors.
  • Litigation and Trial  – Philadelphia attorney Max Kennerly offers opinions from the perspective of a plaintiff’s attorney.
  • Lowering The Bar – Legal Humor. Seriously.
  • Overlawyered – One of the oldest running law blogs. Covers the legal system as a whole.
  • Philly Law Blog – Represent.
  • Popehat – A group complaint about law, liberty, and leisure.
  • My Law License – Miami attorney Brian Tannebaum’s occasional thoughts on practicing law. Then he went and wrote a book and ruined it.
  • My Shingle — Carolyn Elefant’s long running blog on solo practice. Great resource if you are looking to start a solo practice.
  • New York Personal Injury Law Blog – Eric Turkewitz on interesting civil cases. Nominally New York focused but covers cases nationwide.
  • Real Lawyers Have Blogs – Lexblog CEO Kevin O’Keefe on legal blogging.
  • Simple Justice – New York attorney Scott Greenfield pontificates on crime, blawgs, the legal industry, or whatever else floats his boat that morning. Prolific and always worth reading.
  • Unwashed Advocate – Eric Mayer’s thoughts on criminal law & assorted ramblings.

Criminal Law

Fighting against the man.

  • A Public Defender – Opinion on the criminal law system from an anonymous public defender. Quiet of late, but always worth reading.
  • Defending People – Texas lawyer Mark Bennett on the tao of criminal-defense trial lawyering.
  • Fault Lines – Criminal law news and commentary from Mimesis Law.
  • Gasmo: For The Defense – Commentary by an Ohio criminal defense lawyer.
  • Koehler Law Blog – D.C. attorney Jamison Koehler’s thoughts on practicing in the capital.
  • Norm DeGuerre – An anonymous PD in California.
  • Radley Balko (Washington Post) Uncovering overreach of the government in the areas of civil liberties and the criminal justice system.
  • Simple Justice – Scott Greenfield pontificates on crime, blawgs, the legal industry, or whatever else floats his boat that morning. Prolific and always worth reading.
  • The Criminal Lawyer – When Nathan Burney is not too busy churning out funny and informative legal comics at www.lawcomic.net, he shares his views on criminal law here.

Defense Bar

“If done correctly, no can defend.”

  • ADTL – Association of Defense Trial Attorneys.
  • Jeremy W Richter – Alabama Insurance Defense Blog.
  • DRI – The voice of the defense bar.
  • NACDL – National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Directories

I heard you like lists, so I put a list in your…you know how this goes.

Family Law

I wouldn’t touch this with a ten foot pole. More power to the lawyers out there who handle it.

Free Speech, Other Online Censorious Behavior

One of the most important rights we possess, but it’s constantly under attack by cowards, handwringers, and overly-sensitive whiners. These people talk about it.

Health/Humor/Lifestyle

All about that life yo.

Intellectual Property Law

“What’s a good IP joke?” “I can’t tell you, I don’t have the license for it.”

International/Security Law

You thought this was a cool sounding class in law school, but it ended up being boring.

Job Hunt

Life pro-tip: Legal jobs are usually filled in via networks, friends, and connections, not job boards. But you might get lucky.

Law As Business

The practice of law is a profession. The running of a law firm is a business. Know the difference between the two. Ignore the difference at your peril.

Lawyerist

The largest solo/small firm website, run by Sam Glover and Aaron Street. Regular updates on a variety of topics of interest to lawyers at smaller firms.

Law School

Welcome to hell. You’ve chosen to go to law school at the worst point in time in history. The industry is in the throes of fundamental, systematic change. No one actually knows what practicing law is going to look like in 10 years, let alone 20. But, since you’re here anyway, you might as well make the best of it. Get your head straight, work hard, hustle, and never give up. Good luck.

Legal Industry News

As you grow into your practice, you’ll likely find yourself moving towards sources of news that focus on your specialties; you might follow Insurance Journal if you do insurance defense work for example. But it’s important to stay abreast of broader trends as well. The following sources should help you stay abreast of trends and news in law.

  • ABA Journal – Broadly covers trends in the legal industry and generally perceived as one of the central voices for lawyers in the mainstream media.
  • Above The Law – Preeminent legal blog, covering most of today’s legal news. Topics range from the inner workings of the largest law firms in the world to guidance for solo practitioners and law school rankings.
  • Bloomberg Big Law – Covering the business of “Big Law.”
  • How Appealing – An AboveTheLaw network site, focused on appellate cases.
  • Instapundit – Government & legal news from Glenn Reynolds, Law Professor, USA Today columnist.
  • NPR – Covers legal topics on a regular basis. Broad coverage from around the country.
  • Overlawyered – One of the oldest running law blogs. Covers the legal system as a whole.
  • Pinhawk – Daily newsletters on variety of legal topics, Big Law focused.
  • Reuters – General legal news coverage.
  • SCOTUSblog – Discussion of recent developments in U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence.
  • TaxProf Blog – Nominally covering tax news, but also provides general news on legal education.
  • Wall Street Journal Law Blog – The Street’s view of the legal industry.

Legal Research

Finding a needle in a haystack of needles.

MyShingle

Carolyn Elefant is the online Godmother of solos & small firms everywhere. She’s been blogging for over 10 years and has never slowed down. Over the years she has built up enormous amounts of free resources worthy of their own mention.

Practice Management

In the long run, the more organized lawyer often wins.

  • Attorney At Work – One idea a day for lawyers.
  • Clio – Practice management blog.
  • MyCase – Niki Black on practice management.
  • RocketMatter – Tim Baran on legal productivity.
  • Smokeball – Ripper! The Aussies made a practice management platform. Take a sickie, grab a slab, & barbie!

Podcasts

Like you don’t get this stuff enough, you want to listen about it on your commute too.

Professional Development

Being better than you were yesterday. If there has ever been a time to not rest on your laurels in the legal industry, this is it. Make relentless, systematic improvement a part of your life.

  • Associate’s Mind – Yep, you’re still here.
  • Code Academy – Learn to code.
  • DuoLingo – Learn another language.
  • Khan Academy – You can learn anything.
  • Ten Minute Mentor – The Texas State Bar developed this for their young lawyer section, but it is freely available online. Around 100 ten minute videos that offer brief overviews of a wide variety of topics (Immigration, Trial, Probate, etc).
  • TYL – The ABA’s The Young Lawyer online presence. Touches on a variety of young lawyer issues once a month.
  • Listen Like A Lawyer – Emory law prof Jennifer Romig on exploring effective listening practices for lawyers, law students, and all legal professionals.

Reddit

The self-described “front page of the internet” has a variety of legal communities with thousands of members, some good, some bad. The communities of interest to law students and lawyers are:

  • Law – Covering current developments in law and legal news.
  • Law School – Chit chat about law school and meme threads.
  • Law Firm – Discussion, issues, best practices, and support for lawyers practicing either solo or in a small firm.
  • Lawyers – Private community, invite only. Must be a lawyer to become a member. Law students and general public not allowed.
  • LegalAdvice – Hahaha! Included for humor purposes only. If you’re a lawyer, only go here if you have a desire to cause yourself physical pain.
  • LSAT – Some people still want to go to law school I guess?
  • SCOTUS – Coverage of The Nine.

Tax Law

It’s certain. Sorry.

Technology

TECH TECH TECH!!!! Calm down, catch your breath. Yes, technology exists. Yes, in the future, there will be robots. But that doesn’t mean you need to lose your mind over it and throw out all critical thinking and analysis. Technology is just a tool. Some of it useful, some of it isn’t. Technological competence is required, not exuberance.

Writing

Writing is thinking. It is the the core craft of good lawyers. The better a writer you are, the better lawyer you will be. Make it a priority.

  • Adams’ Drafting – Ken Adams’ crusade for the use of plain language in transactional work.
  • CopyBlogger —Developing marketing copy that leads to conversions. Translation: Writing so well and persuasively that the incessantly-clicking, ADHD, driven-to-distraction masses will actually purchase something. If you want to see high quality persuasive writing, look no further.
  • Georgetown Law – Resource of documents, articles, and guides on effective legal writing for scholars, students, and lawyers.
  • LawProse — Bryan Garner’s blog. Provides daily usage tips for words and phrases. For aspiring snoots.
  • Legal Skills Prof Blog  — Often about general legal skills and news related to the profession, but features writing specific posts regularly.
  • Legal Writing Prof Blog  — General tips on writing from a law professor perspective. Often links to Law Review articles on writing.
  • LegalWritingPro — Ross Guberman, George Washington University Law Prof, author of Point Made. Regular articles on writing.
  • LegalWriting.net  — Wayne Scheiss, Texas School of Law professor and author of four books on legal writing. Posts sporadically, but always good reading.
  • The (new) Legal Writer  — Raymond Ward, Louisiana appellate lawyer. Posts infrequently, but always good advice.
  • Supreme Court Briefs – Courtesy of the DoJ, briefs from all SCOTUS cases. Text searchable from 1985 onwards.