In August of 1978, outside the ABA convention in New York, an upstart journalist named Steve Brill could be found handing out free sample issues of an experimental publication. He had launched it on the hunch that there was an appetite for news about the clubby, closed-off world of attorneys and their law firms. The publication was called The American Lawyer magazine, and Brill’s hunch was dead on. Last year, Brill related the story of The American Lawyer’s humble beginnings in an interview (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_EHc_csX_o) with David Lat, the managing editor of the wildly popular legal gossip site Above the Law (http://abovethelaw.com/). Those two men stand as bookends on a three-decade period in which law firms have gone from faceless institutions distinguished only by variations in the grain on their embossed stationery to entities that, willingly or not, are now dissected, commented on, and analyzed from every possible angle. Brill and Lat have been the journalistic doctors, you could say, subjecting America’s law firms to an intense x-ray. And while that x-ray procedure has been painful at times for many firms, like any good medicine, it also helps them stay healthy. The American Lawyer and Above the Law are hardly the only forces behind the trend towards… Read full this story
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