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Above The Law a mainstay in legal journalism

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I presented last Friday at the initial Attorney@Blog Conference put on by Above The Law.

I came away impressed. One by the presenters. Two, by the event itself. And three, for a conference all about legal blogging. The Above the Law crew did a real nice job.

From leading constitutional law attorney, Floyd Abrams, kicking off the event, to the many presenters, to the Yale Club being the site of the conference, to the meals served, to the sponsors (including wireLawyer who did video interviews of some of the presenters), to the reception afterwards hosted by wireLawyer, to the attendees themselves. Well done. I and many others enjoyed ourselves.

Above The Law has come a long way in a short time. Launched in 2006, the site, which publishes news, commentary, and gossip about the legal industry, was recognized by the ABA Journal in 2008 as one the best websites for lawyers, by lawyers. 

Though at it’s start Above The Law may have covered more large law, the site now also publishes content regarding law schools, small law, and in-house counsel. 

With an audience demographic of fairly wealthy Americans (lawyers), Above The Law’s traffic numbers are nothing to sneeze at. In June of last year Above The Law’s traffic surpassed one million unique visitors per month and continues at approximately one million uniques a month now. Not bad considering that’s about every lawyer and law student in the country. 

You can say what you want about Above The Law as a publication, but it’s very possible that publications like it represent the future of legal reporting. 

I found out how popular Above The Law was the day after I accepted the invitation to present. I received multiple emails from from clients and friends excited to see me in New York for the conference. They read about my coming in the publication. 

Above The Law had more announcement power and reach than anything I had experienced before. As a result I added Above The Law to my RSS feeds, something I’ll confess was not there before. My loss.

Guys like me may have been slow to start reading Above the Law. But at age 58 I don’t represent the reader of today or the reader of tomorrow. 

Who’s to say followers of the CHEEZburger Network, Buzzfeed, Vox Media, and Business Insider don’t represent the media of today and tomorrow? Their numbers make a strong case they are. So do the dollars being invested in these companies. 

Looking at the above networks and publications, you’ll see something, in aggregate, much closer to Above The Law than the traditional news and legal publications. 

Younger people (think 35/40 and younger) are becoming much more comfortable with the blog like format of Above The Law and the social sharing that comes with it than they are with traditional formats. It’s almost like broadcast television whose demographic is getting older and older.

Think about law students graduating today. They’re much likely to have read Above The Law than the National Law Journal, The Recorder, or the American Lawyer. That may be scary to some, but it’s true. 

I see a continuing role for original reporting by traditional publishers. But publications such as Above The Law will be a force to be reckoned with going forward.

And thanks to the ATL folks for the conference. We all enjoyed it.

  • shg

    I’m struggling to understand the point to his post. Is it your way of thanking Lat for putting you on a panel? Are you suggesting to your Lexblog customers that they too can be ATL, even though they can’t? Perhaps it’s just to contrast the outlier of the one-time blog that has turned itself into a online media opportunity on the legal sector?
    I followed ATL from the beginning. I enjoyed it quite a bit back then, far less so now. When it was just Lat, it had teeth and wit. Now, it’s either tepid or tries to hard to be snarky about nothing. Half its “columnists” are good, but the other half are just horrible. And the one panel I watched at the conference was worthless. From others, I heard that earlier panels ranged from ignorant to irrelevant to downright wrong.
    But then, Breaking Media didn’t really want anybody free-riding off its media event that might threaten its fragile place in the legal ecosystem. So what, then, is the point of this post? Beats me.

    • http://kevin.lexblog.com/ Kevin OKeefe

      My blog posts tend to me thinking and talking, not always having a point. But my purpose here was one, to thank Breaking Media and Above The Law for inviting me to present and take part. Perhaps not a perfect event, non are, but I saw a lot of positives from the event and I believe most enjoyed the discussion. Second, was your point that ATL has gone from one-time outlier to a strong media player in the legal arena.