Reporter Aebra Coe often covers law firm finances, marketing, business development, expansion efforts, billing practices, benefits and compensation, diversity, recruitment, education and training, and legal ethics at Law360. She began her career as a journalist in Michigan and in 2013 joined Law360 as a news assistant. Six years later, Aebra is a senior reporter at the online legal outlet, and often interviews firm management for her Law Firm Leaders series.
Recently, Jaffe turned the tables and interviewed Aebra to discuss her role as a reporter writing feature stories and analyses of topics of interest to law firm leaders.
Q: How do you think media coverage has changed over the past five years?
Broadly, in the last 10 to 15 years, the media industry has become faster-paced, with news coming from so many sources, including blogs, television and radio. News in general is everywhere and up to the minute. However, at Law360, we are moving in the opposite direction and focusing on in-depth coverage with an eye toward digging deeper by giving each story more attention. We are certainly focused on sharing breaking news, but we also want to provide our readers a comprehensive perspective.
Q: What makes a good media source?
A good media source is someone knowledgeable about the topic they are speaking about and also passionate about the subject. It is someone who is interested in the topic for its own sake versus interested in promoting themselves. A source who speaks honestly and provides a wide perspective, as opposed to what they are doing specifically, is always preferred.
Q: What is the best way to pitch you?
Brief email pitches with an introduction describing what they are interested in talking about are the best. While I am open to pitch ideas, on any given day I receive many off-target article ideas, so it is best to research what I write about. I receive a lot of information that is helpful to my beat, but I can’t respond to every email, especially if it doesn’t pertain to my coverage.
Q: What is your preference for story ideas?
I cover law firm mergers and lateral movements (not necessarily individual hires, but groups moving from one firm to another), as well as law firm financial results and finances. I’m interested in issues that law firms face as employers, such as diversity, internal policies, associate pay and bonuses, mental health, and pro bono work. I also like hearing about legal technology and innovation, with a focus more on big-picture, industry-wide impact and development.
Q: What is your biggest pet peeve as a reporter?
Off-base pitches that have nothing to do with my beat and bog down my email can feel very overwhelming.
Q: Looking at 2020, what are some of the legal trends you anticipate covering?
I’m watching state initiatives that affect attorney regulations that allow more involvement from non-lawyers. I’m also keeping an eye on mental health and diversity issues.
Q: Outside of the office, do you have any hobbies?
Lately I’ve been really crafty. I’m enjoying a pottery class and working on macramé for my new home. Creative outlets are important to me. Crafting is like assembling a story — I love making things.