When we were reporting our profile of Legal Rebel David Lat, founder of the legal news site AboveTheLaw.com, we were struck by how much his envelope-pushing coverage of big law firms reminded us of the work of a much older journalist. So we asked Lat to interview Steve Brill, founder of American Lawyer magazine and Court TV – and, in many ways, his generation’s David Lat – about how much legal journalism has changed, and how much it hasn’t, in the last 30 years. It is Brill’s most extensive interview about legal journalism since he sold American Lawyer Media 12 years ago.
Here’s the full interview, recorded September 22nd in Brill’s Manhattan office at Journalism Online, a start-up that is trying to help news publishers generate new revenues from readers of their digital content.
Part 1: Why Yale is the easiest place to be a law student … How Brill got the idea for American Lawyer magazine … Why what some lawyers call gossip is simply business news … How one lawyer overlooked the First Amendment
Part 2: Why lawyers thought they should be exempt from news coverage … How come the AmLaw 100 isn’t the AmLaw 500? … Why pissed-off lawyers are the best sources … Why Above the Law’s business model won’t work long-term … The proof that American Lawyer’s website isn’t successful … How much Brill’s law school daughter would pay for Above the Law stories
Part 3: How much revenue American Lawyer earned from subscriptions … How the magazine lost almost half its ad revenue with one story … Is the Huffington Post violating copyright laws? … The New York Times website is superior to the newspaper, and it’s free