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James Oliphant, formerly executive editor of Legal Times, has been named editor in chief of the newspaper. Oliphant succeeds Eva Rodriguez, editor in chief since May 2004, who will join the Washington bureau of The New York Times as an editor. As editor in chief, Oliphant will direct all aspects of the editorial coverage of Legal Times and its sister publication, Influence, which covers the business of lobbying. He will also be responsible for the Web sites of both publications. Oliphant, 39, plans to build on the work done by Rodriguez. “I think she set a sophisticated and aggressive tone for the paper, which is something I hope to continue,” he says. After graduating from the Ohio State University School of Journalism in 1989, Oliphant made a brief foray into the profession he would later cover, earning a J.D. from the Ohio State University College of Law in 1992 and working as an associate at two Ohio law firms, from 1992 to 1997. Oliphant notes that his experience as an attorney has given him an intimate understanding of what life is like for many area lawyers. “I think the most important thing is that I speak the language of lawyers and law firms. I have a sense of what things are like from their point of view.” Oliphant began his professional journalism career at ALM’s Miami Daily Business Review in 1997. In 1999, Oliphant joined Legal Times as a reporter covering the U.S. Department of Justice. Over the next three years he won numerous awards for his writing and reporting. After spending a year in New Mexico as an adjunct professor of English at San Juan College and a staff writer for the Santa Fe Reporter, Oliphant returned to Legal Times as a news editor in April 2004. He was promoted to managing editor before being named executive editor in June 2005. Commenting on the future of Legal Times under Oliphant’s editorship, Ann Pelham, publisher of Legal Times and Influence, says: “Readers can count on him to deliver a paper that’s lively, readable, and gives them information they’re not going to find anywhere else. I think we can look forward to seeing wider coverage of all the different elements of the D.C. legal community.”

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