Above the Law launched five years ago today, on August 30, 2006. If you like, you can take a trip down memory lane and read my letter from the editor, introducing ATL to the world.
Reaching this milestone is no small feat. If you think of Above the Law as a blog, this is a major accomplishment; in the words of one observer, the typical blog “has the lifespan of a fruitfly,” with most blogs being abandoned within a year. If you think of Above the Law as a business, this is also noteworthy; according to the Small Business Administration, new firms have about a 50 percent survival rate in the first five years.
So, on the occasion of our fifth anniversary — or “blogiversary,” as some say — we’d like to give thanks. We extend our deepest gratitude to our wonderful readers, our knowledgeable tipsters, our generous sponsors, our talented fellow journalists and bloggers, and our loyal friends. We couldn’t have made it this far without you.
That’s our main message, and you can stop reading here. If you’re interested, though, feel free to read on, as I identify five ways in which Above the Law has changed and evolved over the past half-decade.
1. More news.
When Above the Law first launched, the site focused mainly on entertainment, commentary, and news aggregation. You can see these areas of emphasis in my letter from the editor.
Today, while we still provide humor, opinion, and aggregation, we break much more news (even though, with just three full-time writers, we have a fraction of the resources available to other news outlets). We offer original reporting about law firm layoff and bonus news, noteworthy moves within the profession, interesting or entertaining court rulings, and controversies within law schools, to name just a few examples of subjects we cover.
2. More writers.
As noted, our staff is small — but it’s growing. For the first two and a half years of Above the Law’s existence, I did the bulk of the writing. If you scan the bylines from 2006 to 2008, you’ll see my name again and again. But over the years, thankfully, I’ve been joined by some great company.
In 2011, ATL boasts a sizable stable of talented and distinctive writers. In addition to my two full-time colleagues, Elie Mystal and Staci Zaretsky, we have columnists for the in-house world (Mark Herrmann), the small-firm world (Jay Shepherd and Valerie Katz), legal technology (Chris Danzig and Gabe Acevedo), privacy / Courtship Connections (Kashmir Hill), celebrities / Pls Hndle Thx (Marin), Legal Eagle Wedding Watch (Laurie Lin), lawyer advertising (Natasha Lydon), and lawyers’ psychological issues (Will Meyerhofer). And we have Juggalo Law, who is just hilarious.
3. More advertisers.
Above the Law’s longevity and expansion would not be possible without our advertisers and sponsors — some of the best brands in the legal world and beyond. Many of them have been working with us for years, renewing again and again. We are honored by their support, and we are delighted to thank them each week. (If you’re interested in learning more about advertising opportunities, please email email@example.com.)
4. More than just a blog.
Above the Law is more than just a website. We have a newsletter that reaches over 10,000 subscribers (which you can sign up for in the box to the right of our main editorial flow). We produce webcasts, such as our recent series on career advice for the summer. We partner with leading brands for commerce opportunities, such as our CLE sale with Lawline or our menswear sale with Gilt Groupe. And we host events, such as our upcoming Legal Technology Leadership Summit, taking place next month at the Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island, Florida. (To learn more about the Summit, check out the agenda.)
5. More readers.
Our audience has grown dramatically over the past five years. In the first few months of Above the Law’s existence, I remember being delighted by getting 15,000 pageviews in a day (which is perfectly respectable for a legal niche website, and more traffic than I ever received at my first blog, Underneath Their Robes). Today I’m pleased to report that we can get more than 15,000 pageviews in an hour — and if major news breaks, like last week’s earthquake, we can receive more than 100,000 pageviews in a single hour.
We thank you, our readers, for your patronage over the past five years. Providing you with information and entertainment is a privilege and a pleasure — and we hope to continue doing so for many years to come.