Our readers seem to enjoy variety. A little humor is usually welcome. Mix in a hint of scandalspoken by a general counseland we've got a hit (see number six). Readers don't generally come to us for political stories, and we don't publish very many, but when the GC of normally tight-lipped Koch Industries agreed to talk about politics and the controversial Keystone Pipeline project, that was worth covering. And readers agreed.
The more predictable winners were the stories that touched on the subject that seemed to take honors this year: intellectual property. The one that also managed to add a beautiful celebrity, and a question about favoritism at the Patent and Trademark Office, allowed Beyoncé to break into our vaunted top 10.
But where would beauty be without the beast? Or, in this case, the troll (see number 10). Kent Walker, Google's general counsel, dubbed his top story "the year of the patent troll." Though the picture he painted was bleak, Walker strained to add a pinch of optimism. "Calls for 'patent peace' increased," he wrote, "as companies sought to return to the business of innovating, not litigating."
He was more comfortable when he turned to the world of social media. He spied over 1 billion Facebook users, "over a million apps on Android and Apple and Amazon, and a flood of new cloud-based devices," and it was all very, very good.
Prudential's Blount, however, wasn't so sure about that. "Changing communication technologies," she noted, "have presented new challenges to in-house lawyers." Companies are adopting social media policies, she said, and are struggling to set standards that apply to work and home, and accommodate both different generations and conflicting expectations. "Courts have entered the fray," she added darkly.
You can almost see the storm clouds gathering. Or at least we can. It's safer to review the past than predict the future. But we'll go out on a limb and bet that social media will make it into our mix of top stories in 2013.