By Kevin O'Keefe

Above The Law a mainstay in legal journalism


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.

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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