My latest feature examines sleazy, incompetent, and ethically-challenged lawyers in pop culture and how they are shaped by, and affect, public perception of the legal profession. This one was a lot of fun to write and report. I had a blast speaking to some of the creative minds behind Liar Liar, L.A. Law and Presumed Innocent.
Plus, we got some good timing, since the issue went to press the same month that Better Call Saul wrapped up its run on AMC. As such, it was a no-brainer to feature Saul Goodman on the cover and throughout the spread. With quotes like “If you’re committed enough, you can make any story work. I once convinced a woman I was Kevin Costner, and it worked, because I believed it!” and scenes like this one where he effortlessly explains money laundering in a way that could be used in law enforcement training videos, he really is the perfect cover-boy for a story about bad lawyers.
Unless you count this guy. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to fit my favorite bad lawyer into the story (it wasn’t for lack of trying, though). Maybe next time…
I was very honored to win the following awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE):
I was especially proud to see my section (Business of Law) win a National Bronze and Regional Silver award for Best Regular Print Department. I’m very grateful to my colleagues and reporters for helping make that happen.
Plus, we won honorable mention for Magazine of the Year (11 or Fewer Issues). Woohoo!
A bit of a departure for me on this one. I wrote an ABA Journal cover story in 2019 looking at songs that changed the law. The issue of sampling has become an important one when it comes to copyright law. A major reason why was because of two 1991 cases. I spotlighted the first: a lawsuit filed by members of 60s era band The Turtles against hip hop group De La Soul. I decided to take a look at the second one, which involves the recently deceased rapper Biz Markie.
When the Diabolical Biz Markie died in July, many publications made sure to emphasize that he was more than just a one hit wonder. Widely known for his big personality and sense of humor, the “Clown Prince of Hip Hop” (he once recorded a song about picking his nose called “Pickin’ Boogers” – either that or “Weird Al” Yankovic’s “Gotta Boogie,” is the best song ever written about nose doo-doo) was a highly influential rapper who was beloved in hip hop circles and by his fans.
But the fact remains that most people only knew him by his big hit, 1989’s “Just a Friend.” A major reason why he never had another was because of a lawsuit that helped set a precedent in the then-grey area of sampling.(more…)
Late last month, NBC announced it was reviving the original “Law & Order” as a prime-time series.
The news came a month after my feature examining the show’s legacy in shaping our understanding of the criminal justice system hit the stands. Surely the folks at NBC and Wolf Entertainment read it and decided they had no choice but to bring it back, right?
So, you’re welcome! Now, if I only can get NBC to bring “Ed” back.
I’m not going to lie. This routine helped inspire the lede for my latest feature examining the impact of Law & Order and its various spinoffs on the criminal justice system. Maybe I’ll do another focusing just on SVU and how Ice-T always needs things explained to him.
Very proud to win several Azbee Awards of Excellence from the American Society of Business Publication Editors this year. I think this might have been my biggest haul yet.
I’m very proud to see “State of the Profession,” an annual feature I’m in charge of, win the National and Upper Midwest Regional Azbee Awards for Excellence for Data Journalism from the American Society of Business Publication Editors.
And I’m also proud to have been nominated for a Peter Lisagor Award by the Chicago Headline Club for Best Feature Story (Non-Daily Newspaper, Magazine or Newspaper-Magazine) for “Lawyers, songs and money: Music that changed the law.” That piece meant a lot to me, personally, and I was glad to see it get some recognition.
Got my obligatory photo from Phil Brown during the just-completed ABA Techshow. I was quite proud of our coverage of this year’s event. It was a lot of hard work in the midst of some big-time adversity. Thanks to my colleagues for their help!
This was a fun podcast for me. How two Texas lawyers combined their love of music and their knowledge of state law to find a unique way of marketing their practice.
So honored to see Digital Dangers, a year-long special series on cybersecurity and the law that I was in charge of, win the national gold Azbee for Print Feature series from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. The series was also awarded a regional gold Azbee for the Upper Midwest Region.
An interesting podcast from the 2018 ABA Annual Meeting consisting of legal heavyweights Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, former Virginia Solicitor General William Hurd, Wisconsin Solicitor General Misha Tseytlin and Northwestern Law School dean Dan Rodriguez. And me.
At the ABA Journal, our most popular web post of all time is our “Top 25 Greatest Legal Movies” feature from 2008. I haven’t seen the stats, but apparently, it’s number one by a country mile. Kind of like how The Matrix is, far and away, the best movie in its trilogy or how Alec Baldwin is, without question, the most talented actor in his family.
So, to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of our most popular feature of all time, the lead feature of this month’s issue is an updated look at the list of greatest legal movies. Some movies from the last decade to be included are Spotlight, The Post and Marshall, while movies like Legally Blonde, Primal Fear and Michael Clayton made the cut this time after missing out on the original list. Also, some movies from the original list dropped out, including Philadelphia, Presumed Innocent, Chicago, In the Name of the Father, and the Al Pacino tour-de-force And Justice for All.
All of this got me thinking about a different Pacino legal drama. The Devil’s Advocate (1997) may not be remembered as his greatest film (if we’re being honest, it’s probably not even in the top half of his filmography), but it’s a fun, creative take on lawyers, law firms and the legal profession.(more…)
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