I recently had the treat of being at the 26-year reunion of the original writers and editors who founded the National Law Journal in 1977. This was the unruly band of reporters who changed legal journalism and set the stage for law firm marketing.
We met for dinner in a private room at New York City's elite 21 Club. Founding Editor, Josh Fitzhugh, organized the event. Back then we were all green, in our 20s, starting out our careers. We were working at a wild 'n crazy startup, figuring out the rules as we went along. Our arch-competitors were American Lawyer and Legal Times of Washington.
Sadly, all the newspapers are owned by the same investment banking firm now. The NLJ has been bought and sold 5 times and is a pale resemblance of its founding days. But our group cracked jokes, asked trivia questions, recounted our careers and feasted on lamb and steak. There's a photo album online at http://www.lawmarketing.com/NLJ/. Here's who came and what they're doing now:
Josh Fitzhugh, founding editor, now Vice President and General Counsel of Union Mutual Fire Insurance Company in Montpelier, Vermont. He was the inspiration and the solid foundation.
Dick Babcock, founding managing editor, now Editor of Chicago Magazine. A steady hand at the tiller.
Ed Burke, reporter, now Marketing Director for Shearman & Sterling in New York. A writer with a wry sense of humor and an eye for the ironic.
David Margolick, reporter, now Contributing Editor for Vanity Fair magazine. A craftsman of a writer who slaved over his copy like a gem-cutter working on diamonds.
Doug Lavine, reporter, now Superior Court Judge in Hartford, CT, and author of two books on advocacy. A sincere, earnest thinker who got to the heart of matters.
Alice Klement, DC correspondent, now the Mildred Hansen Professor in the College of Arts and Science at the University of Northern Colorado, in Greeley, CO. She was known for her delightful personality and perpetual curiosity about the world.
Jon Winer, cub reporter and case digester, now a lawyer with Alston & Bird, based in Washington, D.C. Known for his eye for detail and taste for irony.
Ruth Hochberger, who was a reporter for the New York Law Journal, across the hall. Today she's a journalism professor at Columbia and NYU.
Nicholas Fitzhugh, Josh's son, who joined our merry dinner and showed us copies of his new magazine, The Glimpse, a college campus publication. Like father, like son.
Me, a New York Daily News reporter on strike and needing a job, later a practicing lawyer in Wisconsin, then Editor & Publisher of the ABA Journal, then Director of Communications for Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, and now an online entrepreneur.