Read my resume
In 1993, I was handed the technology beat at The American Lawyer magazine--basically, I think, because no one else wanted it. Technology was "back of the book" stuff. It would never grace the cover of the magazine, except, possibly, if it blew up and seriously injured top-billing attorneys (wounded associates or support staff probably wouldn't count).
Most lawyers considered technology to be something their secretaries and paralegals used, and anyone who dealt with technology was on a par with the guy who came to fix the photocopy machine when it broke. (Of course, when the photocopy machine did break, no one was more important than the fix-it guy, but that still didn't mean he got any respect or that anyone thought about the photocopy machine when it wasn't broken.)
I was a new editor at the magazine, thrilled to have escaped the practice of law -- I practiced criminal defense law with Legal Aid before joining an intellectual property firm and then leaving the law for journalism -- and so couldn't and wouldn't say no. "Just write about what products people are using," sighed an executive editor. "You know, what e-mail to buy or something."
I found the technology beat contained some of the most interesting, educational and inspiring stories of the magazine. And for the past five years, I've tried to write about it for various legal publications, none of whom share responsibility for this site. Now it's time to write about it with greater freedom than I could when I was affiliated with The American Lawyer and The National Law Journal.
Some comments about the legal publishing industry. There are, of course, multitudes of legal publications, newsletters, newspapers, and magazines competing for your attention and subscription fees: Law Office Computing, Law Technology News (formerly Law Technology Product News), and all the American Bar Association publications, especially those of the Law Practice Management Section. The newspaper I just left, The National Law Journal, runs a few technology sections, but no longer runs software reviews on a regular basis. American Lawyer Media's Web site runs no software reviews as far as I know. AmLaw Tech, a good legal technology magazine, is now a quarterly available only by subscription--it has no Web presence of which I am aware. None of the above publications has any affiliation with this site. All content is mine, and all errors are my parents' fault. I mean, my responsibility.
Most legal publications are dependent on advertising from high-tech companies, and are especially concerned about advertising from the giant legal publishing companies, Lexis-Nexis, (now owned by London-based Reed Elsevier Inc.); West Group (now owned by a Thomson Corporation, a Canadian company); and until recently and to a lesser extent, Matthew Bender and Martindale-Hubbell (both now properties of Reed, with a lot of blood on the floor.) An Anglo-Dutch company, Wolters Kluwer, may soon merge with Reed.
As the publishers consolidate, advertising revenues vanish. You will rarely find a critical review of any legal software product in the mainstream legal press--they don't want to lose the advertising revenue from the shrinking number of vendors and publishers.
One example: The American Lawyer magazine published an in-depth look at West Group. In violation of the magazine's explicit policy, it faxed the article in advance to West. After publication, West pulled six months of advertising--about a half a million dollars. You can guess how eager other publications were to write about West after that.
Finally, the boring, uninformative credentials on which far too many hiring decisions are made: I graduated from Oberlin College in 1982; spent four years in the Middle East; returned to attend the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, graduating in '87; and then graduated from Stanford Law School in 1990. My 5-year legal career, at Legal Aid and then at an intellectual property law firm in Manhattan, has been blocked from my memory. I vaguely remember looking through files, and reading a lot of fat books. I joined the American Lawyer magazine, fleeing in horror for The National Law Journal -- then the two publications merged.
You can't flee. You can only set up a Web site -- in effect, starting your own magazine. Enjoy. Hey, at least the price is right.
Reported and edited articles dealing with court technology, electronic filing, and information management.
Filed daily pieces and a weekly column on law and technology for Web site aimed at professionals.
Founder of weekly column, Lawyers and Technology, which analyzed both the impact of technology on the law, as well as the effect of technology on the legal profession. Wrote and edited monthly newsletter dedicated to cyberlaw issues.
Solicited, drafted, and edited articles on management, technology, and business issues relevant to large law firms.
Researched and wrote memoranda of law and legal briefs on intellectual property issues. Policed and protected trademarks and copyrights around the world. Drafted speeches and articles for publication on a regular basis.
UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL J.D., 1990
UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM Masters in Journalism,
COLLEGE B.A. History, 1982
Fluent and literate in French, Hebrew, and Spanish
Photography, skiing, travel, and theater