Letters from Our Readers

The ABA Journal gets a new look and feel

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Molly McDonough

ABA Journal Editor and Publisher Molly McDonough. Photo by Callie Lipkin/ABA Journal.

Welcome to the new ABA Journal.

When the ABA Journal staff began planning this cover-to-cover redesign, we did what journalists tend to do. We reported, interviewed and listened. We researched the market, conducted surveys, picked apart every single printed page, and, importantly, we asked ABA members what they wanted.

Our goal was to improve the quality of the ABA’s flagship magazine and the experience for its readers. We determined that in its look, feel, and importantly, its journalism, the Journal should continue to be: high-quality, relevant, informative, inspirational, entertaining and designed to help build even stronger connections between readers and the ABA.

These elements are the foundation of the Journal’s 104-year-old existence. They’ve seen the magazine through the decades, chronicling the evolution of the legal profession. In addition to covering trends and issues, the Journal has profiled legal powerhouses and Main Street practitioners. We’ve shared wisdom gathered from chief justices and presidents, from law students and paralegals, from first-year lawyers and from 70-year practitioners.

When I reviewed our research, I was heartened to learn that readers enjoyed the printed magazine. But a majority (71%) didn’t want it every month.

Survey data also revealed that readers wanted more of what we enjoy producing most: substantive articles, practical advice and legal industry insights.

sept oct 2019 mag cover small The September-October 2019 ABA Journal magazine.

In response, we trimmed the frequency of publication from 12 to six issues per year. With the production savings, we were able to invest in higher-quality paper and a new size and format that give the written word, typography and art more prominence.

We reimagined and reorganized our magazine departments to reflect the wide array of issues and interests of the bar as a whole—from analyzing national and international legal news to offering practical advice to lawyers.

We’ve aligned the Journal’s new design with the ABA’s new unified branding, incorporating elements of the ABA’s redesigned logo and color patterns throughout the magazine.

In the coming issues, you will see additional changes. We’ll better align the Journal’s production cycle with the ABA’s calendar so we can bring you the latest and most relevant content that’s important you—our members.

I welcome your feedback about the changes. You can email comments as well as suggestions you may have to improve your reading experience to [email protected].

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