ABA Journal

ABA Journal named Magazine of the Year for second year in a row

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ABA Journal cover

The cover of the December-January 2023-2024 ABA Journal.

For the second year in a row, the ABA Journal took home the Magazine of the Year award for overall excellence in a national contest held by the American Society of Business Publication Editors.

In addition, Journal legal affairs writer Julianne Hill received the organization’s highest individual honor, the Stephen Barr Award, for her feature story, “Parental Penalties: Collateral consequences reverberate through families long after sentences are served.”

The ASBPE Awards of Excellence, also known as the Azbees, honors the best in business-to-business media. The Journal won the 2023 Magazine of the Year award in the category for publications with 11 or fewer issues per year.

“There’s a good reason ABA Journal is a repeat winner,” the judges said. It offers “excellent reporting and sourcing.” Moreover, one judge said, “The style of writing is elevated and conversational, and speaks very well to the audience.”

In fact, a new judge to this category said he wasn’t expecting the Journal’s content to be so engaging. One judge commented, “ABA Journal is head and shoulders above the competition for Magazine of the Year.” And another judge added, “The publication’s feature choices—the topics, sourcing and writing—typically are above everyone else in this category.”

Judge Herbert B. Dixon Jr. (ret.), chair of the Journal Board of Editors, said, “The board commends our talented editor and staff for achieving this award in consecutive years. Truly, the Journal is not just the ‘go-to’ source for news about lawyers, it is the preeminent professional magazine in the country.”

Journal editor and publisher John O’Brien said the Journal staff is honored to again receive this prestigious award.

“We’re thankful for the repeat honors and we appreciate the recognition of all the great work that the staff produces on behalf of ABA members,” O’Brien said.

Julianne Hill Julianne Hill

The Stephen Barr Award is named for one of ASPBE’s most honored journalists, who died of cancer in 2002 at age 43. It recognizes individual writing across feature categories, and especially work that shows inventiveness, insight, balance, depth of investigation and impact on readers. A check for $500 accompanies the award, endowed Barr’s parents and administered by the ASBPE Foundation.

Hill’s award-winning story examines the especially difficult journey of mothers returning from prison and how parents reentering society face thousands of regulations that make reentry into their communities a challenge.

“This story had a profound impact on me,” said one Stephen Barr judge. “Learning about the challenges and tribulations faced by women who have completed their sentences was eye-opening. Julianne was able to capture the spirit of these moms through their photos with their families and narratives, and it demonstrated how they continued to live in the shadow of prosecution long after serving time.”

“I’m thrilled—and still a little stunned—that my story ‘Parental Penalties’ was chosen for the Stephen Barr Award,” Hill said. “The mothers who returned home to their children after serving time in prison only to find themselves a lifetime of collateral consequences bravely told me their stories. I saw them work to improve the lives of themselves and their kids.”

The story also won a gold award in the print feature category for magazines with 11 or fewer issues per year.

Three other current and former Journal staff members were honored with awards in other writing categories.

  • Print Feature Article, 11 fewer issues per year: “Taking Sides: Courts are grappling with how to handle claims of parental alienation” by Amanda Robert, Silver Award

  • All Content, Company Profile: “Behind the Screens: Inside the claims against DoNotPay’s Joshua Browder and the ‘World’s First Robot Lawyer’” by Matt Reynolds, Bronze Award

  • All Content, Individual Profile: “Special Counsel: Elizabeth Kelley has built a criminal defense practice for clients with mental disabilities, autism and dementia” by Kevin Davis, Bronze Award

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