Announcing 'Exclusive Jurisdiction,' My New Column For Bloomberg Law
I'm delighted to be a contributor to Bloomberg Law, whose work I have long admired, while continuing to publish Original Jurisdiction.
I have some exciting news to share: I'm writing a biweekly column for Bloomberg Law, discussing the news, trends, and personalities shaping law and the legal profession today. But fear not, loyal readers: I will continue to publish Original Jurisdiction, and if anything, my Bloomberg Law gig will only enhance OJ, since I’ll be republishing my Bloomberg columns in these pages.
There will still be lots of content that will appear only on Original Jurisdiction (since my Bloomberg column will be published only every other week, and not everything published in OJ would work for the column). This includes my Judicial Notice legal news roundups, podcast posts, SCOTUS clerk hiring updates, deep dives into various industry rankings, Notice and Comment threads, and Lat's Legal Library.
Here’s my inaugural Bloomberg Law column, which appeared yesterday. I’m grateful to Bloomberg for this opportunity, and I look forward to our continued collaboration.
Fall is an exciting time for the legal profession. The US Supreme Court starts its new term. Law schools embark on new academic years. And I’m delighted to be launching this column for Bloomberg Law—Exclusive Jurisdiction—analyzing news, trends, and personalities shaping law and the legal profession today.
This fall is particularly hectic in the legal world. Three high-profile trials are underway at the same time—the Justice Department’s antitrust case against Alphabet Inc.'s Google, the New York attorney general’s civil-fraud case against former president Donald Trump, and the federal criminal case against fallen crypto wunderkind Sam Bankman-Fried.
Other major matters are heating up, including an unprecedented four criminal cases against a former president (Trump) and the second federal prosecution of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).
Things are calmer at the Supreme Court, which appears to be taking a breather after two blockbuster terms. That said, there are still big cases on the docket, with major implications for voting rights, free speech, gun regulation, and administrative law, among other areas. The court might also adopt a formal ethics code for the first time.
For large law firms—aka Big Law—it’s a time of uncertainty. Will the transactional work that’s the lifeblood of so many firms return, or are more layoffs in store? Will firms succeed in bringing lawyers back to the office? Will certain firms (which shall remain nameless for now) survive the series of high-profile partner departures they’ve been experiencing, or will they go the way of dearly departed Dewey & LeBoeuf?
It’s a time of upheaval for law schools as well. There was a major shake-up in the all-powerful U.S. News rankings this year, after the publication radically revamped its methodology in response to a boycott by dozens of law schools.
The rankings are very different, but they’re not going anywhere—they’re too powerful, and too profitable for U.S. News & World Report, for that to happen. Not everything in legal education is so secure. Will the LSAT disappear? What about the bar exam? These possibilities, once unthinkable, are now on the table.
As someone who’s worked in and written about the legal profession for more than 25 years, since matriculating at Yale Law School in 1996, I’m well-positioned to guide readers through these transformative times.
Before becoming a full-time legal journalist in 2006, when I launched Above the Law, I clerked for the Ninth Circuit, worked for Wachtell Lipton in New York, and was an assistant US attorney in Newark, N.J.
I didn’t practice for long, but during my time as a lawyer, I encountered many different types of legal work—trial and appellate, civil and criminal, government and private practice. These diverse experiences, and the friends and contacts I made along the way, inform my perspective as a legal journalist today.
Why did I leave the trenches of legal practice? Long story short, I discovered I enjoyed writing about the law more than practicing it. While working as a federal prosecutor for then-US Attorney Chris Christie, I started Underneath Their Robes, a cheeky, humorous blog commenting on the federal judiciary. After revealing myself as the author in an interview with the New Yorker, I leveraged that visibility and transitioned into full-time writing.
I thoroughly enjoyed my newfound freedom as a writer to speak my mind about controversial topics, which I didn’t have as a law clerk or lawyer. I also appreciated the opportunity to bring greater transparency to otherwise opaque institutions, including Big Law and the federal courts—especially the Supreme Court.
After 13 years of growing Above the Law, I wanted to try something different. Seeking a new adventure, I entered legal recruiting in 2019 by joining Lateral Link, a legal search firm. Working as a recruiter further deepened my understanding of the world of large law firms, and it also grew my network.
Then in March 2020, the pandemic hit. I came down with a life-threatening case of Covid-19, which sent me to NYU Langone for almost three weeks, including a week on a ventilator. This near-death experience, which I chronicled online and on the airwaves, had a profound effect on me. I realized that while I liked recruiting, just as I liked the practice of law, I loved writing—so I decided to return.
So in December 2020, I launched a newsletter called Original Jurisdiction on the Substack platform, where I write about law and the legal profession. I also podcast, give speeches, and write for various other outlets—now including Bloomberg Law, whose journalists’ work I have read and admired for years.
In these pages, I’ll do what I’ve been doing for the past two decades, which is offer news, analysis, and occasional humor about law and the legal profession. I expect to write about a wide range of topics and institutions, including the judiciary, law firms, and law schools.
My columns will be united less by a common topic and more by a shared sensibility, which I’d describe as curious, engaged, thoughtful, and judicious.
I’ve been speaking my mind online for almost 20 years, so I’m especially interested in free speech. I’ve closely followed and reported on controversies at law schools and law firms involving what might be described as attempts to “cancel” disfavored speakers or ideas. I view these efforts as deeply troubling, antithetical to our shared enterprise as lawyers and the rule of law.
Enlightening, entertaining, and evidence-based writing is what I aspire to offer. I hope to draw on my experience, knowledge, and contacts I’ve developed as a lawyer and journalist to offer unique insight into the legal news of the day. I’m eager to hear what interests you readers, so please feel free to contact or connect with me. I look forward to hearing from you.
A version of this article originally appeared on Bloomberg Law, part of Bloomberg Industry Group, Inc. (800-372-1033), and is reproduced here with permission.
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