The Reading List: New Year’s Edition

The Reading List

[The Reading List — a regular feature of theContractsGuy — highlights blogs that are interesting enough that I check in regularly. Here’s a link to other Reading List posts.]

A law school student asked me via Twitter recently whether it’s hard to maintain a blog and have a corporate law practice. The answer of course is that it’s very difficult, because there’s not time for nearly everything I want — and need — to do.

Finding time to blog regularly is tough for everyone. For a lawyer who has clients whose needs pretty much always trump a side project like a blog, the difficult often becomes impossible.

The Profit and Laws Blog. That’s why I was happy to see this New Year’s resolution post on the Profit and Laws blog (“Sorry I said so little”). The blog is written by Coco Soodek, a BigLaw partner at Bryan Cave’s Chicago office. Word on the street in St. Louis is that the folks at “the Cave” work pretty darn hard. That’s probably even more so at the firm’s office in the larger Chicago market.

Coco’s day job involves representing entrepreneurs, and her love of entrepreneurship is obvious in many of her posts. Here’s how her “about” page describes her practice: “Coco helps craft and complete business deals in art, advertising, stage, trade and rock shows, and digital media, as well as steel, manufacturing, trucking, warehousing and consumer electronics. And guns.”

Like her book about business law Birth to Buyout, Coco’s blog provides practical and accessible information about law and business. Here are a few of the posts I’ve enjoyed reading:

Got Employees? In 3 Relationships between You and Your Staff, Coco gives a brief explanation of the differences between employees, independent contractors, and joint venturers/partners, and then briefly explains why the differences matter. It’s that last part — explaining why it matters — that’s especially good. Lawyers and law firms publish a lot of information about the law, but they don’t often go the extra mile and explain what it means to real life people. Independent Contractor v. Employee has more detail about the differences between employees and independent contractors.

Changing Online Terms. I’ve written a fair amount in these virtual pages about online terms and conditions. One issue that I’ve barely touched upon, but which is important, is revising online terms midstream. Companies need to do this every now and then as their businesses develop, but are the changes enforceable? As with most legal questions, the answer is sometimes yes, and sometimes no. In How to Change Your Online Contracts So the Changes Stick, Coco provides some tips on how website owners can make sure their revised terms of service will be enforceable.

You Can Take That to the Bank. Coco tells new business owners what they need to bring to the bank with them when they set up a new bank account in 4 Documents You Need to Set up Your First Bank Account. If you’re going to the bank to get a loan, you might want to read 6 Ways to Deal with Loan Covenants.

Breaking Down the Contracts. Term Sheet Checklist to Buy Capital Equipment provides a helpful annotated checklist of issues to consider in a purchase agreement for equipment. This would be useful for young commercial attorneys as well as business people. Coco breaks down confidentiality agreements in 7 Ingredients in a Confidentiality Agreement.

Choice of Entity 101. Coco gives short and sweet evaluations of various business entity choices in Sole Proprietorship: Just Don’t (she’s not a fan), 5 Smart Things about the S-Corporation, 5 Reasons Venture Capitalists Demand a C-Corp, and 10 Great Things about an LLC. In The Four Types of Entities (sorry it’s pretty dull) — her words, not mine — Coco discusses the pros and cons of various entities in a more detailed round-up post.

These are some of the highlights from recent months. I’m looking forward to seeing what Coco has to say in 2012. Here’s to a New Year’s resolution that sticks!

4 comments… add one
  • Ken Adams Jan 12, 2012 Link Reply

    My own reading list has gotten a little static; this post has prompted me to add Coco’s blog to the mix.

    • Brian Rogers Jan 12, 2012 Link Reply

      Ken: I’m glad you found the post helpful! There are fewer good business law blogs out there than you’d expect…or maybe I just haven’t found them yet.

  • Max Mednik Jan 12, 2012 Link Reply

    Thanks for sharing! Some of these sources I’ve been reading, but many are new and helpful.

    Thank you also for your hard work and generosity in sharing so much useful content on your site. I’m working on a tool to help attorneys and business people draft better and more error-free contracts using artificial intelligence. We hope to be able to incorporate a lot of the advice you give in the future.

    • Brian Rogers Jan 12, 2012 Link Reply

      Max: Thank you for the kind words. And good luck on your project. It’s exciting for me to see people finding ways to improve the delivery of legal services through technology. I’m sad to say that the most significant innovations probably won’t come via people like me who work in law firms, but I’d be pleased to stand on the shoulders of others by being an early adopter.

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