When learning a second language, full immersion in the language is the surest path to fluency. Learning the language of the law is no different. Your assigned reading may seem daunting enough, but jumping in and reading a little bit of unassigned law content each day can go a long way to improving your overall comprehension. Besides, you’ll find it enjoyable to exercise your newfound understanding of the law on something that won’t be tested. Reading about the legal world beyond the law-school bubble will both help you reinforce what you are learning and encourage you to push through the law school doldrums to get to the real-world practice of the law.
But not all law-related content on the internet is made equal. Most major media coverage of legal news is not written by lawyers and is not for lawyers. In the same way that Law & Order is not the best source for learning criminal procedure, your nightly news coverage is not the best source for learning about current legal events. So while you are taking your next study break, here are some websites with quality legal reading that will help you develop your legal mind (and hopefully you’ll enjoy it)!
Daily News Sources
For the business and big-law minded, this is a great resource for daily national legal stories. Unlike so many high-quality news websites, Reuters is free and offers unlimited access. Also unique, in most cases, Reuters includes the case style and case number at the end of stories on particular proceedings. To really dig deep, a quick google of the docket number and you can usually get to the original source pleading or opinion being discussed.
For the more socially minded, NPR Law offers interesting daily legal content, often both in text and audio. While usually short, quick reads, for the busy law student, it could be the right daily dose of the legal world beyond the law school walls.
Supreme Court News Sources
This site provides amazing coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court. They cover every oral argument. They cover every opinion. For the real Supreme Court aficionado, they even breakdown petitions for certiorari. You can search any case before the court by docket number and find a fully linked case docket, providing you access to all the filings and amicus briefs in the case. As you will find, aside from being respected as the highest court in the land, lawyers follow happenings in the U.S. Supreme Court like some follow the celebrity gossip or pro sports, so it is good to stay informed. (If you doubt this, check out Fantasy SCOTUS.)
For the audio and visual inclined, C-SPAN maintains great Supreme Court coverage. If a Supreme Court Justice speaks anywhere, anytime, you will find the video neatly curated on C-SPAN. Likewise, oral argument audio is available. Also, the “Landmark Cases” series could be of interest to those taking or preparing for constitutional law.
Bar Related Sources
Whether you are an ABA member or not, abajournal.com will keep you up to speed with what is happening in the law. Often the news here provides some insight on the law as an industry – including everything from law school happenings to law firm shakeups. (Aside from the news, for practical legal writing tips, the ABA Journal’s feature Bryan Garner on Words is a personal favorite of mine.)
Don’t wait until you pass the bar to utilize the resources of your state bar. Some access may be limited depending on the state, but most have a full complement of blogs and journals to keep you up on the news in your jurisdiction. Particularly if you are going to law school outside of your intended jurisdiction, this can be a great way to stay connected and current on local issues. Here are a few examples — California Bar Journal, Texas Bar News & Publications, North Carolina Bar Blog.
Subject-Matter Based Sources
Hollywood Reporter – Esq.
Along with catching up on the latest general news around Hollywood, the Hollywood Reporter Esq. blog provides a unique slice of legal news. Whether you are a film buff or are actually interested in IP law, this could be a site for you.
Sports Illustrated – Michael McCann
If you are a sports fan, instead of reading another mock draft, pull up Michael McCann’s latest article. This Sports Illustrated legal analyst is also a tenured law professor. His articles provide a good deal of depth and often include links to the legal documents underlying his articles.
The Fashion Law
Into designer fashion? Into complicated IP law? This blog is for you. Along with daily posts with legal news coming out of the fashion world, the site hosts an interesting reference section that breaks down an extensive array of laws and landmark cases that define the niche field of law.
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