It’s not ground breaking that our generation gets a majority of its news through social media. We follow people and organizations on Twitter, subscribe to blog updates, and Like pages on Facebook. But how does that translate to the practice of law? Young attorneys know how to research case law to support their legal position, but how do they get new information that could be critical to a case or grow their practice?
Typically, an attorney prepares a brief by researching case law in support of their argument. Before a hearing, the attorney reviews the case law from the briefing. Online legal research providers have several tools to keep an attorney updated about new decisions relating to cases they cite in a brief. Do you take advantage of this? Is that enough?
A young attorney should look at the weekly releases from the appellate courts in their jurisdiction to determine if new opinions have a positive or negative bearing on issues in their cases. This helps an attorney better frame their argument. More importantly, when an attorney finds new appellate authority after briefing has concluded or a hearing was held, but before a decision has been made, the attorney may choose to file a notice of supplemental authority with the court to advise it of the recent decision. I have seen first hand how taking the time to find this new appellate authority and informing the court can aid, even decide, your client’s case. Taking a few minutes to stay up to date may prove invaluable to your client.
Another benefit of staying up to date with new developments in the law is that it allows you to keep in contact with clients. If you are reading a magazine, article, blog, or see a new legal trend, it is a perfect time to let a client know about what has developed. It shows you are on top of the legal trends and are trying to keep them informed. Reaching out to a client merely to say “I thought you would appreciate reading this” is an effective way to show the client you are thinking about them and their needs.
Taking the time to keep up to date with recent legal precedent and legal trends can play an important role in your current caseload and in developing your practice. Information is easy to access nowadays, use it to your advantage.
Greg Popowitz is a Registered Patent Attorney in the Fort Lauderdale office of Assouline & Berlowe, focusing his practice on the protection of Intellectual Property through prosecution and litigation, business litigation matters, and appeals. Prior to his legal career, Greg was a product engineer in driveline systems for a Tier 1 automotive supplier in Michigan.