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This week, I thought I would answer some of the questions that I’m asked consistently when talking to readers and others who are interested in our publication…
Q: So what do you do here, anyway? A: A true FAQ. I’m the editor in chief. I’ve been in that role for a little more than a year. But I’ve worked for Legal Times since about 1999 — and I’ve been with the company now called ALM for a decade. I’ve been a reporter, managing editor, and executive editor here. So I’ve been around.
Q: You know, frankly, you look it. A: Don’t get personal. Our executive editor, Alison Bethel, runs our legal business and lobbying coverage. Our managing editor, Tom Schoenberg, runs our courts, law enforcement, and national security coverage. Our national opinion editor, Liz Engdahl, runs our special sections and lawyer practice focuses, as well as overseeing the commentary pages.
Q: How can I reach them? A: You can call our main switchboard at (202) 457-0686. An easier way might be to visit our Web site and click on the “Contact Us” link at the top right of the home page.
Q: Why did you change the front page? A: Glad you asked. We went to what we call a more “tease-heavy” front page a few weeks ago. The idea is to alert readers that there is more inside the paper than ever before.
Q: What kinds of things? A: We’ve added a variety of new features and columns, especially in our coverage of law firms and legal business. There’s a new column, Keeping Score, devoted exclusively to items involving firms, clients, moves, and lawsuits. And we now have three columnists who write each month: Debra Bruno writes Balancing Act, a look at work-life issues that face lawyers of all stripes; Nathan Carlile authors Penalty Box, which details lawyer-discipline cases in the District; and Robert L. Rogers discusses financial-planning issues for lawyers in Legal Tender.
Q: What else? A: Thanks for the transition. As part of our Supreme Court coverage, we’re now running a regular Recusal Report, which lists justices who bow out of pending cases. (There’s also a new Supreme Court page on our Web site.) And I hope you’ve noticed that we have two new recurring features on Page 6: this column and Working Lunch, which contains brief conversations with members of the legal community.
Q: But I miss the Calendar that used to be here. A: It’s still in the paper; it’s in the Legal Business section now.
Q: What are you trying to do with all this stuff? A: We’re working to create more of a balance between the long-form, well-reported stories about law, lobbying, and government that the publication is known for and some items that are easier to peruse more quickly. And just as important, we want as many opportunities to connect with our readers and our community as possible. These new features afford us more of those opportunities.
Q: Speaking of your coverage, why are you slanted to the left? A: We aren’t.
Q: OK, then, why are you slanted to the right? A: We aren’t that, either. We don’t even have editorials, unlike most newspapers, because we don’t take ideological positions. We try to play it as straight as we can.
Q: How can I get myself or my law firm in Legal Times? A: I probably get asked this more often than any other question. And I would say, simply, “Do something.”
Q: Right now? A: Sure. I like to say that we cover what lawyers do, not who they are, as much as possible. If you’re involved in something interesting, we’d like to hear about it. And the best thing to do is contact the editor who directly oversees that coverage area.
Q: So why aren’t you blogging? Everyone is blogging. My grandmother blogs about homemade preserves at werejamming.com. A: We’d love to blog. Even better, we’d love to have people blog for us. So this is an open invitation to partners, associates, lobbyists — anyone out there with something to say about the world they inhabit — drop us a line. Let’s talk.
Q: Can I call you if I have more frequently asked questions? A: Of course. Call me at (202) 828-0356 or e-mail me at [email protected].
Q: Happy Holidays. A: Same to you. Stay away from eggnog. You remember what happened last year.
James Oliphant is editor in chief of Legal Times . His column runs twice a month.

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