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Easy Reading: 3 Mobile Resources for In-House Lawyers

Litigation Column
L ast year, I wrote about reading books in your spare time to build your legal career. Books are bursting with information to help you develop new skills, give you problem-solving ideas to share, and offer thought-provoking and inspiring stories. When reading for business, you don't have to read a book word-for-word. You can instead skim the contents and then focus only on what you need. Best of all, you can read during your daily commute, as you travel, or in other situations where your time might otherwise be unproductive.

Since then I’ve discovered additional free and simple ways to access books and other sources rich in information, I thought I should revisit the topic and share these findings. The following resources focus on audio and mobile formats, which are more convenient since you do not have to wait for a print copy to ship. Plus, you can easily share them with others.

1. Court oral argument recordings

The US Supreme Court and other Federal Appellate Courts publish recordings of their hearings online. Though not books, listening to recordings is a great way to keep up with important cases and developing legal issues. It also gives you a glimpse into the courtroom dynamics. Furthermore, if you are considering hiring an outside lawyer who has handled a federal court appeal, the recordings provide you with a way to hear the lawyers in action. The recordings are available from court websites as well as the Court Listener site.

The Supreme Court’s Audio recordings site posts the hearings at the end of the week when the argument is heard. For podcast enthusiasts, the Oyez Project has a multimedia collection of the recordings.

2. Library audiobooks

Libraries now offer books in print, e-book, and audio formats. Visit your library website to learn how to access them and which apps to use, such as OverDrive and RBdigital. Getting started is usually as easy as downloading the app and entering your library card number.

The library is a reliable source of reading material. You don’t have to commit to buying the book and can quickly move on if it doesn’t suit your needs. Libraries also curate their materials, so the quality and selection of their business books tend to be higher and more focused.

Specialty legal books, however, may be difficult to find in your local library's collection. But there should be books covering business, current events, biography, political, and historical topics that are excellent for in-house lawyers of all types. For example, I send this local library link to in-house friends in my town whenever I tell them about Michael Watkin's The First 90 Days, one of my favorite books on career growth. That way, they can learn more about the book before adding the print copy to their shelves.

3. Podcasts

Podcasts are an ever-flowing stream of information on current events and upcoming trends. Look online for “top legal podcasts” to find subjects that suit your interest and industry. That said, be sure to narrow your search. Legal podcasts that provide practice tips tend to focus their discussions to the running of a law firm.

With that in mind, add business podcasts to your queue. For example, Harvard Business Review's Ideacast, and TED Talks podcasts provide quick hits of information from experts in the corporate world.

Piling more reading material onto your mountain of tasks and projects might seem like an admirable yet burdensome hobby. But with these simple tips, in-house counsel can do more with less in their spare time.

About the Author

Noah WebsterNoah Webster is the Litigation Columnist.

The information in any resource collected in this virtual library should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on specific facts and should not be considered representative of the views of its authors, its sponsors, and/or ACC. These resources are not intended as a definitive statement on the subject addressed. Rather, they are intended to serve as a tool providing practical advice and references for the busy in-house practitioner and other readers.