Editor of Above the Law. Co-host, Legal Talk Network’s Thinking Like A Lawyer. NYU Law grad. Perennial Article III short-lister.
WHAT LED YOU TO START WORKING IN DIGITAL/MEDIA PUBLISHING?
After 11 years as an attorney — first at a global “Biglaw” firm, and then at a white-collar defense boutique — I managed to pay off my student loans and thought, “what is it I really enjoy about this job?” The answer was research and writing. Then I started considering jobs that put me closer to an appellate practice where that was my primary focus and I realized, “I also want something creative… and that allows me to make be as caustic as possible.” Thankfully Above the Law existed and needed a lawyer to take an editorial role.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have to go to the office — in Greenwich Village — for meetings. I get up at around 6:30 to begin the trek in (about an hour and a half) and prepare our morning link wraps. Most (but not all) other days I work from home and set up at my little desk. Our editorial calendar is a little fluid. I write 2-5 stories a day, depending on the breaks, ranging from 500-1500 words each. I also edit 2-3 of our freelance columnists every day. I can be done as early as 3 or as late as 8. But even then I keep monitoring and am generally ready to jump on to address breaking news.
WHAT’S YOUR WORK SETUP LOOK LIKE?
The site runs on WordPress with a customized template and the editorial team stays connected (when we aren’t all in the same room) via Google Hangouts. For the podcast we record every 2 weeks, we use Shure mics and a Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 mixer and record with Garageband. Loopback controls the channels and Skype brings in remote guests. I use TMSOFT’s Sound Effects Board, too.
WHAT DO YOU DO OR GO TO GET INSPIRED?
Most of our work is based on taking industry news and offering commentary so it’s the news itself that inspires me most days.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OF WRITING OR QUOTE?
Ernest Hemingway is (inaccurately) credited as saying “write drunk, edit sober.” Come to think of it, maybe I need to edit my “what inspires you?” answer…
WHAT IS THE PASSIONATE PROBLEM YOU ARE TACKLING AT THE MOMENT?
It feels like everything is on fire in the legal world right now, but if there’s one issue I’m trying to really push right now, it’s the way that law school tuition is crowding good students and lawyers out of public interest work. There’s an access to justice crisis for much of this country and young lawyers are pushed away from that work and public service-minded students are eschewing law school because they can’t see a way to work for those that need legal help most desperately because paying off loans almost requires a fat Biglaw salary.
Is there a Product, Solution, or Tool that you think is a Good Match For Your Digital Publishing Efforts?
I don’t feel any tool we use is a magic bullet but I also think everything works perfectly well.
ANY ADVICE FOR AMBITIOUS DIGITAL PUBLISHING AND MEDIA PROFESSIONALS JUST STARTING OUT?
Don’t be afraid to submit stuff to bigger outlets. You don’t want to become an annoying bot sending emails every 5 minutes, but if you know what a publication is all about, become a tipster, send them stuff you just think they need to know from other authors and, occasionally stuff you’ve published elsewhere. If you build a rapport and have good stuff, they’ll respond and they may be able to help you out — either with freelance work there or with work somewhere else. I get hundreds of emails a day, but the people who routinely provide quality tips and content I all know by name and I’ll take time out of my day to correspond with them.