Where do you get your information? That is quite important. You don’t want to be wrong or poorly informed. You need to stay in the “now”, to know what is happening in the world of law. But also, you need to know your history. You cant call yourself as someone who is well informed if you don’t know what came before you and laws you know today. So pick carefully from who you are taking your information. And let us start because I am going to bring you some of the best sites where you can find just what you may need.
A few months ago I penned a paean to the SEC’s website (see “A Random Walk Through the SEC’s Website”), gushing that it was the most “essential corporate law source of them all.” At the time, I figured I’d soon be pounding out tributes to my other favorite corp law sites. Instead, I got really busy with work. Instead of writing about these other sites, I found myself using them in my work more than ever before. Many of them on a daily basis.
So, to the point
Below I’ve listed the eight sites I used the most in my work over the last few months. This list doesn’t include all my favorite sites, just those I found myself returning to day after day over the last few months to help with work-related issues.
EDGAR is the world’s best precedent library for corporate lawyers. In order to use all the features of this library, you need a premium EDGAR retrieval service that gives you flexible search, display and downloading options. I’ve used 10kWizard since it was free. Even now that it’s not free, I appreciate that its fee structure permits unlimited searches for a fixed annual fee. That permits me to surf EDGAR in a mildly focused way, unconcerned that my aimless searches are racking up huge client charges. Instead of printing out or downloading SEC reports, I often just call them up on 10kWizard when I want to review them. I’m sure other premium EDGAR services offer these features and more — many of my colleagues swear by the feature-rich LivEDGAR — but I’m used to 10kWizard and unwilling at this point to try anything else.
When I was a pup, the cumulative index to the bound editions of The Corporate Counsel was my main source for locating practical securities law commentary. Whenever I had a securities law question, after checking the law and the relevant SEC telephone interpretations, I would stroll to the library, peruse The Corporate Counsel’s cumulative index, and usually end up finding two or three articles on point. Today those binders filled with yellowed newsletters are all online in a fully searchable database at TheCoporateCounsel.net. While that database is, in my view, reason enough to obtain an online subscription, you can also find law firm memos organized by topic, special pages devoted to topics like Regulation G and Rule 402 Cashless Exercises, and many other features only a corporate lawyer could love.
TheCorporateCounsel.net Blog (aka Broc’s Blog).
Years ago Broc Romanek started the first corporate law blog at RR Donnelly’s RealCorporateLawyer.com. When Broc moved over to The Corporate Counsel, he brought his blog with him. While I enjoy reading many blogs, none are more useful to me in my day-to-day practice than Broc’s. Broc has his finger on the pulse of corporate law departments and corporate lawyers, often anticipating issues before the rest of us have thought of them. Best of all, Broc’s blog is free, so you can read it every day (like I do) even if you don’t subscribe to The Corporate Counsel.
The New York Times’s DealBook is the best business blog. It’s not listed on my sidebar because it’s not a website. Instead, it’s delivered the old-fashioned way — by email. Every business day DealBook serves up blurbs from and links to 30 to 40 business-related stories from the New York Times and, importantly, many other newspapers, magazines, and other publications. Some subscription-only publications make selected content freely available to DealBook readers. In times like these, when I don’t have enough time to read my favorite business publications, DealBook provides me with a quick injection of business news without any fuss. DealBook is free to those who register with the New York Times’s online edition.
Convenience. That’s why I so often find myself navigating to Findlaw when I could instead be flipping through a codebook. Sometimes I’m on a call and want to call up a provision I thought I knew by heart. Other times I want to send a snippet from a code to someone and find it easiest to just copy and paste it from Findlaw into an email. Still other times I run across a statutory reference and wonder what it is. And that’s just when I’m looking for codes and rules. Findlaw is still the largest repository for, and directory to, free case law. I don’t think it’s any secret that this is one of the best free legal resources on the web.
It’s unbelievable how much legal information I get off Google these days.
RR Donnelly’s contribution to the corporate lawyer’s cornucopia of websites has several features that keep me coming back. Its home page is a model of clarity, displaying headlines under four categories (SEC Daily Briefs, SEC & Other Regulatory Developments, Breaking News, and Special Features). Donnelly’s staff does a good job keeping the headlines up to date each day. The site’s “What’s New on the SEC’s Website?” feature tells you-you guessed it — what’s new on the SEC’s website each day. A real timesaver for habitual SEC website surfers like me. I’ve long felt that Wachtell Lipton’s client memos are the best in the field — timely, succinct and opinionated. If you do not have the good fortune to be on Wachtell Lipton’s mailing list, you can usually find their latest offerings in RealCorporateLawyer.com’s Special Features section, which links to recent law firm memos.
Securities Lawyer’s Deskbook.
The University of Cincinnati cranks out such a good compendium of securities laws, the SEC doesn’t even try to compete. I probably have more printed sources for federal securities laws and rules than anything else, yet I find myself clicking through to the Securities Lawyer’s Deskbook all the time. I appreciate the clean redesign, the word search feature, the quick navigation, the focus on just the laws and rules I work with the most. It’s really a nice service. And best of all, it’s available wherever you have a computer and an internet connection, allowing you to leave those bulky Appeal and CCH binders back at the office.
These are a few of my favorite corp law-related websites. Do you have other favorite corp law sites? If so, please let me know and I’ll consider them for future Essential Sources postings. Just drop me a line at corplawblog at yahoo dot com.