Martin C. Bricketto is the managing editor for business of law coverage at Law360, overseeing Law360’s legal industry and legal ethics sections, as well as the recently launched Law360 Pulse.
Law360 Pulse is a new legal news site that launched in January 2021 to focus on the business of law. I had the opportunity to ask Martin for examples of what Law360 Pulse coverage includes, how it differs from Law360, and the type of content and story ideas he and his staff are looking for from law firms.
Martin has been with Law360 since 2010, playing lead roles in the launch of Law360's New Jersey and Access to Justice sections. Before joining Law360, he spent several years at daily newspapers in New Jersey. For our Garden State readers, Martin resides down the shore, and earned his bachelor's degree in journalism and history from Rutgers University.
Q: Law360 is known for its comprehensive legal news. Can you tell us the story behind launching Law360 Pulse as a new section?
Law360 has been covering the business of law and legal industry news for a long time, but there is so much more we wanted to do with it, whether that meant drilling down into areas like corporate law departments or mid-market law firms, or focusing on legal industry news from specific regions. Pulse is a way of doing that. We added more than 20 people on the daily news side alone, not even counting our data team that has already produced great work on law firm office trends and compensation. There’s so much new reporting and content that it requires its own home.
Q: How does the Law360 Pulse readership differ from that of Law360? Who is the target audience?
Like Law360, we’re targeting readers in the legal community, but our goal is to appeal to news junkies when it comes to legal industry content. We like to think of Law360 as focusing on the practice of law, and Pulse as focusing on the business of law. Law360 will still have the legal industry coverage that its readers have come to expect, but those who want a supersized helping of those kinds of stories and more analysis of the challenges facing firms, in-house departments and other legal service providers should check out Pulse.
Q: What should law firm marketers know about Law360 Pulse in terms of opportunities for lawyers to be interview sources? What topics are of most interest to the Pulse reporters?
We’re always looking for sources willing to speak candidly about the business of law. I realize that’s an expansive term, so just to offer some examples: Our team wants to know about lateral moves, merger trends, office openings and executive appointments. We often try to follow up basic news stories on those developments with second-day pieces diving into the question of “why.” We’re interested in how firms approach billing, client services, compensation, promotions, ethics, diversity, technology, new practices, mental health, pro bono and other internal issues. And while Law360 remains the best source for analyzing the legal impact of big court decisions, Pulse wants to put a spotlight on the firms and attorneys on those cases (we routinely write stories profiling the attorneys behind major court victories) and examine broader court and litigation trends that impact where firms devote their resources. We welcome pitches on those kinds of topics and would love to sit down with anyone willing to go into granular detail about them!
Q: Do articles published in Law360 Pulse appear exclusively on Pulse, or are they also published in other Law360 sections?
Our goal is to produce fresh content every day. While some articles appear on both sites, the Pulse team has published approximately 500 stories since its launch in January that were exclusive to those readers. And we’re going to keep pushing hard to develop that exclusive content beyond what we’re currently offering and provide real value and intel to Pulse readers.
Q: Does Law360 Pulse publish interviews with law firm leaders, and if so, what topics are of most interest? Are there regular Q&A columns on particular topics?
Pulse regularly publishes articles with law firm leaders. We try to cast a wide net of not just managing partners, but also office and practice group leaders. We’re also interested in law firm personnel who can speak on specific issues important to the industry, like diversity and tech. We also want to put a spotlight on non-firm entities and entrepreneurs shaking up the legal market. In terms of our in-house section, we have a series focused on more general conversations with general counsel and CLOs, but also an “On The Spot” series where in-house attorneys have the floor to discuss one pressing topic in particular.
Q: Do Law360 subscribers automatically have access to Law360 Pulse?
Pulse is a separate subscription, but Law360 clients were given a complimentary access period when the site launched in January.
Q: Law360 Pulse covers news from large law firms as well as regional or mid-market firms. What are some of the hot topics the reporters are covering right now for these two types of law firms?
Great question. In both cases, we’re interested in how the pandemic continues to reshape law firm practices, from compensation and staffing to technology and office culture. We’re also interested in where firms are seeing shifts in their work due to the pandemic. We continue to look for stories about how firms are moving the needle on diversity, both when it comes to their own personnel and client work. We want to know about how firms are adopting and developing new technologies and the business decisions they’re making about those services. We’re interested in what all those firms have to say about hot practices and markets. We love talking to law firms, as well as alternative providers of legal services, about how they see the future of this rapidly changing industry as client needs and expectations evolve. For mid-market firms, we’re interested in what kind of competition they’re seeing from bigger players and their value proposition to potential clients. For firms of all sizes, we’re interested in how they manage leadership changes and navigate the challenges of attorney departures.
Q: Does Law360 Pulse publish announcements of lateral moves? Are reporters interested in doing profile pieces of lateral hires? Or practice group leaders? Or other leadership roles?
Pulse is very interested in covering lateral moves and changes in office and practice group leadership, especially those within the nine regions we cover. (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas) We like to jump on those announcements when they happen. It helps a lot when the attorney at issue is available for interviews the same day the press release goes out. Announcements concerning lateral moves, promotions and other personnel changes can be sent to Pulse@law360.com.
We are also interested in follow up Q&As and other second-day coverage when the news involves a leadership change, the opening of an office or an especially high-profile addition. We make that decision about that kind of second-day coverage on a case-by-case basis.
I’d add that Pulse is very interested in covering when firms hire or promote administrative executives like COOs and CFOs, especially when those folks are willing to chat with a reporter.
Q: How will Law360 Pulse collect data for its surveys? Will law firm marketing departments be asked to participate?
Law360 Pulse’s Insights data team, headed by Director of Series, Surveys and Data Kerry Benn, will collect its survey data in a few different ways. In some cases, like our recent Partner Compensation Survey, where we’re looking to collect responses from individual attorneys, the surveys will be sent directly to attorneys themselves. In other cases, like our annual Headcount Survey, which looks at headcount and diversity statistics, marketing departments will be asked to compile the information and submit one response per firm. In other cases, marketing departments may be asked to help us pass along a survey to the correct person; for example, if we don’t have contact information for your managing partner for our planned Managing Partners Survey.
Q: What kind of litigation news is of most interest?
We don’t want to compete with Law360, so we try to take news out of the courts and write features that are more focused on the attorneys and judges who are involved. We write a lot of stories that focus on the strategy that lawyers used to secure a major court win at the trial or appellate level. It’s a big help when the attorneys involved in those cases are up for talking and shedding some insight on their work. We’re also open to any pitches along those lines.
Q: Law360 Pulse covers news in nine states, currently. How does the coverage differ from state coverage on Law360?
Law360 does an amazing job of covering the courts in several states and we don’t want to reinvent the wheel. We want Pulse to be focused on the business of law in those nine areas and the inside baseball of how firms and courts operate. We want to be aggressive about covering attorney moves, office openings, law firm mergers and acquisitions, other law firm transactions, attorney regulations, ethics guidance, court policy, and changes within the judiciary. When we do cover litigation, we want to keep an eye on the attorneys involved and put those folks front and center.
Q: Will Law360 Pulse publish original rankings in 2021?
More information will be forthcoming on this soon. Stay tuned!
Q: What kinds of legal ethics stories is Law360 Pulse most interested in covering?
Pulse is definitely interested in covering ethics rules and guidance issued by the bar and court authorities. It’s helpful when there are knowledgeable attorneys who can help us put those policy measures into context. I’d add that we’re interested in ethics guidance from all jurisdictions, not just the nine states that have Pulse wires. We’re also interested in covering disciplinary cases and court developments involving attorney ethics when those matters offer broader lessons for the legal community.