Kim Kleman (Gabrielle Purchon)
Fresh out of college as a newly minted journalist covering the Florida hinterlands, I asked my editor if he had any sage advice. “Your job,” he responded, “is to get great stories in the newspaper.” Duh, I thought. Then he explained that twofold assignment:
If I wrote amazing articles but couldn’t send them in on time, I failed. And if I made deadline but produced only so-so stories, I also failed.
I’m reminded of that conversation now, in my first weeks as the new editor-in-chief of The American Lawyer. If you’re reading this, it means I passed one part of that test—closing this issue and getting it to the printer. As for the other part, it is my aim and that of my ALM team to fill our print and Web offerings with lively, provocative, must-read articles on the business of law and the lawyers behind that work that you just can’t get anywhere else.
Our breaking-news stories and follow-up articles on the indictments of former Dewey & LeBoeuf leaders and the continuing fallout is a good example of coverage more complete than any of our competitors’. In this issue of the magazine, “Standouts in a Tough Year,” beginning on page 56, offers insights about the lawyers and strategies behind some of the most creative corporate deals of the year. And in Aric Press’s Dicta column on page 82, some 1,100 lateral partners who recently moved and whom we surveyed tell what they wish they knew before making the leap. And that’s just the beginning.
You may think my new job is a far cry from my previous position as editor-in-chief of Consumer Reports, the product rating and survey organization. Actually, I have found striking similarities. Consumer Reports produces what I call “gold” content—exclusive information that, even in this era of free media, its subscribers are willing to pay for. The American Lawyer’s gold content is its exclusive survey data, business intelligence and other information to help your practice thrive. The test of a sustainable media product, in my mind, is that readers think it valuable enough to support by paying for it. I will work hard to sift through our data for gems worthy of your time and subscription dollars.
In my early discussions with some of you, you’ve told me you’re interested in articles about legal trends both domestic and international, innovations in technology and the latest research about the do’s and don’ts of managing a law practice.
We’ll also write about the culture of law, shine the spotlight on your noteworthy achievements and investigate questionable actions—and, of course, deliver daily legal news via americanlawyer.com, The Am Law Daily and Litigation Daily blogs, and more. You can expect fair, clear-eyed treatment; we won’t take cheap shots, though we’re not boosters, either.
In the coming months, I hope to meet many more of you. But in the meantime, don’t be shy. I’d love to know how you think we’re doing, the types of articles you’d like to see us cover, and any specific story ideas or tips you want to share. Drop me a line!