Students, legal practitioners, researchers and other individuals interested in the dynamic field of law are currently living in a time when staying up-to-date on relevant news is simple thanks to information technology. Everything from court cases to legal analysis and from legislative action to administrative decisions can be easily accessed from a range of sources.
Achieving success in the legal field requires analytical skill; however, the skills applied by legal practitioners must be derived from a wealth of current and valid knowledge. Attorneys who know more tend to do more; the most prestigious law firms in the world dedicate entire research departments to stay on top of the news and create briefings for senior partners and associates. Becoming informed about the latest legal news is crucial and reasonably easy; the key to get started is to formulate a news gathering strategy.
Social Media Sources:
Legal specialists do not limit their news gathering to industry publications; they start off with mainstream sources such as newspapers because they know that journalists tend to get the first scoop. Whereas publications such as the ABA Journal in the United States may take their time to review and analyze a Supreme Court decision, journalists will deliver as much as they can as promptly as possible.
In the 21st century, publishing news stories means simultaneously sharing them on social media platforms; to this effect, Twitter and Facebook become a great source of legal news. The best Twitter strategy is to subscribe to key accounts such as @BloombergLaw and @WSJLawBlog; on Facebook, changing news feed settings to focus on law topics will trigger algorithms to start gathering relevant news.
Real Simple Syndication:
The RSS era was short-lived and largely supplanted by social media; however, legal professionals are known to still use powerful RSS readers such as Feedly to focus on their topics of interest. Feedly has become the most popular RSS reader because it improves upon the functionality of the discontinued Google Reader, and also because it’s mobile app features are highly optimized. Getting started with RSS is just a matter of installing a reader and searching for publications or topics.
Let’s say an American lawyer interested in international common law topics installs Feedly on her smartphone; she can choose to get the latest RSS feed from the Law Society Gazette in the UK, the Alberta Law Review in Canada and the Australian International Law Journal. A lawyer focused on Interpol notices can set up Feedly to search for that specific topic and deliver the latest news from RSS feeds.
Legal podcasts have become very popular among practitioners, law professors, students, researchers, and journalists. In the U.S., Lawyerist and the Kennedy-Mighell Report are two of the most respected legal podcasts; the main driver behind the resurgence of this digital medium is that production values have skyrocketed.
The advantage of legal podcasts is that people who practice or study law tend to be excellent listeners; furthermore, podcast hosts are aware of the intimate connection they create with listeners, thus prompting them to produce highly engaging and current content.
Jay Sekulow is the Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law & Justice.