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Using the Internet as a Professional Development Tool

Many of us spend our days hunched over a computer, feverishly tapping out legal documents, e-mailing with clients, performing legal research.  Thinking about spending even more time in front of the flickering screen may not seem appealing but there are some sites that are worth exploring.  They provide an opportunity to perhaps look at our work a bit differently and to connect with fellow legal professionals.  I find it interesting to read about how others across the country and the world handle a practice similar to ours.  I’ve learned shortcuts and gained insights into areas of the law that are of interest to me as a professional.

Following are a few of my favorite sites.  I may only have time to read one or two online articles a week but have always found articles of interest.  When subscribing to any of the sites listed, you may choose how frequently to receive articles.  I have found that it’s simple enough to delete articles when I don’t have time to read them and do not want to have them staring at me from my inbox.  This is a brief overview; not surprisingly, there are many sites out there in cyberspace but these have proved to be helpful to me.

Sites with Current Legal News is a daily newswire published by ALM and contains a synthesis of news from approximately 20 national and regional legal publications.  There are also many links to specialty areas, legal research and employment opportunities.  Most of the content is accessible with a free subscription. is another ALM publication that I read to keep up to date on legal issues relating to social networking, electronic discovery and technology in the law office. The title says it all.  A good resource for forensic discovery, experts, and news in this fast-paced, continually evolving field. has news on regulation and licensing of paralegals, professional development, legal product reviews, and continuing education as well as profiles of practice areas and paralegals who work in them. is a resource for IT professionals.

Blogs is a newsletter related to human resource issues. is a site that gathers legal blogs from all over and makes them available on one site.  Definitely worth checking out. is a blog about social networking and making the most of your Web site and online presence.

Links and Groups Through Social Media Sites

LinkedIn and Facebook add groups as quickly as someone proposes one.  I prefer groups that are monitored because there seems to be less personal advertising.  The only hitch is that you have to be registered with LinkedIn or Facebook.

Here are a few I’ve joined and like to glance at through LinkedIn:

Legal Blogging  all areas of the law and usually has one or two interesting discussions taking place among members.

Legal HR covers professional development and recruiting.

Legal Marketing has information for firms of all sizes.

I’m always interested to learn web resources others use.  If you have sites you find particularly helpful please feel to drop me an e-mail at and I’ll run a follow up article.

Ellen Sheffer