This is a guest post from an attorney I know in Hartford, CT, Collin O’Connor Udell. Collin is an appellate attorney who represents clients in a wide variety of commercial appeals before the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Courts of Appeals. RSS is her lifeline to keeping up-to-date.
I, like all of us, am agog with the riches of the web 2.0 world. From time to time, however, I have felt like the person drinking from the garden hose when turned on full blast, gulping furiously to keep up. As an appellate attorney, time is precious, so I am always searching for the best tools of the trade to keep some sort of balance in my cyber-life.
After all, things move fast these days. Precedents are set right and left, novel legal theories that may be of use to me in my cases are tried out elsewhere by others — the 21st century is full of information that must be gathered and sorted before it can be applied. And quickly. It is no longer enough to rely on Westlaw (great but far from free) and to read the Wall Street Journal; the electronic age has brought us CNN and the New York Times on-line, as well as a multitude of legal blogs. A year ago, I culled the ones that were useful to me to, oh, about 20. Then found out about more. Once devoured, I was up to date on developments in the United States Supreme Court, the current circuit splits among the federal Courts of Appeals, academic and practitioner commentary on the cases relevant to my practice, and — in listening mode — commentary about those cases in which I was involved. This. Takes. Time.
Then I discovered RSS feeds and Google Reader. Problem solved. No more clicking through “favorites” and waiting for upload — instead, it is all automatically sent to me in my Google Reader, available to me when I’m ready, organized in folders, clicked off as “read” when finished, easy to share with others should I so desire. (There are many RSS readers out there; I just happen to like Google Reader.) Sign up for Google Reader, look for the orange RSS box on your favorite blogs, and follow the directions — it’s a snap.
A sampling of some of the RSS feeds I find valuable:
Load them up, find your own, and let the RSS feeds flow. It’s a beautiful thing (and fast).
For more on this, I recommend Steve Matthews’s excellent post Top 10 Uses for RSS in Law Firms