Reliable Sources of Legal, Political and Economic News for San Diego Law Students and Legal Professionals
There is a new Guide to News sources for law students at TJSL created by Reference Librarian, Catherine Deane that supplements the Current Awareness page created by Interim Library Director, Patrick Meyer.
Let’s think a little about why you might want to pay attention to the news, what kinds of news you should keep an eye on, and how you can incorporate news reading into your day.
As a law student, you have already entered your profession on the first day of law school. Investing time, money and brain cells into a legal education is only the bare minimum, and once you have done this, it makes sense to back that up with an understanding of the lay of the land.
The good news is that even if you have been doing nothing in your free time but reading comic books, watching reality TV and playing Halo for the last four years of college, you still have three years to catch up with the rest of the adult world and to figure out what the lay of the land looks like. You may be a student, but you are not a kid. You are a professional in training.
This is not to say that you need to set aside Rock Band completely in favor of watching C-SPAN and listening to NPR 24/7, but if you know what city you intend to live in when you graduate, or at the very least what state, it makes sense to start paying attention to local politics. Figure out who the key players are and what their policies are.
History and Culture
Beyond that, laws are not created in a vacuum. The law, and particularly the common law created as it is by judicial precedent and the decisions of 12 hopefully not-too-angry men, is shaped by history and culture. Not culture in the sense of museums and the ballet, but culture in the anthropological sense of how people think; what people do with their time; how they spend their money and what they think is moral. For instance, there are two sets of genital mutilation laws recently in the news, male and female. One type is culturally accepted in the U.S. the other is not. So it makes sense to pay attention to cultural battles over legal issues. And of course, you want to keep an eye on what the Supreme Court is doing, because their decisions change the law everywhere in the U.S.
Economics and Job Trends
The legal profession also does not exist in a vacuum, it is influenced by the U.S., state, and local economy. It makes sense to keep an eye on the economy, when you are ready to graduate, you may need to move to another state to find an economy that supports lawyers. Also, there are many ways to use a law degree other than being a lawyer at a law firm. You may want to keep an eye on the types of legal jobs that are cropping up. This allows you time to find and network with people who use their JDs in a nontraditional way and to see if this might be a career path that you prefer, and if it is, you can start networking in that field and shoring up the other skills that you would need for that career.
But I’m already so busy, how do I find time to gather and read more information?
Trade out a small portion of useless activities for a small portion of news acquiring activities. For example, your phone is with you all the time. If you have a smart phone, download a few news apps and trade out 10 minutes of Angry Birds for 10 minutes of listening to NPR.
According to nielsenwire individual Facebook users spend an average of just over six hours a month on Facebook. Use 10 minutes of your FB time to read news. Just hit the like button on a few news sources and they will push news to you, all you have to do is scan your feed and read/listen/watch a few news items and you will be better informed than if you spent those ten minutes playing Farmville. It will also irritate your nonfarmville playing friends much less.
You can also have news items delivered into your email by signing up for RSS feeds. Or subscribing to newsletters and blogs.
Bookmark this News Resource
Also, there is a bookmark bar at the top of your browser. I have created, especially for you, a one stop shop for any kinds of news that you might want to read, (yes, I even put some entertainment news on there, it’s important for you to be able to chat about silly things as well as being informed about that War in that far away country that that environmentalist grad student you have a crush on won’t shut up about). When you are networking, people don’t always want to talk about the heavy stuff. So it’s a good idea to bookmark into your Favourites Bar this News Link so that when you are bored, it’s just as easy to pull up the News pages crafted just for you, by your librarians, Catherine Deane and Patrick Meyer as it is to pull up Facebook.
So go ahead, check it out, bookmark it today, empower yourself, and take charge of your development as a knowledgeable, professional adult pursuing a career in law.