Martin Bricketto is a proud New Jersey native and current managing editor for Business of Law coverage at Law360, working with a talented team of writers to uncover and tell important stories relevant to the legal industry. Martin also oversees Law360’s legal industry and ethics sections, supporting the recently launched Law360 Pulse, which has become a leading source for legal news.
Martin sat down with the Evolve the Law Podcast in August to share details on some of the most important stories he’s covered this year, and provide insights on what to expect as law firms face reopenings and potential variants this fall. Martin also explains the importance of exploring the “human side” of legal industry news, and how his team at Law360 Pulse works tirelessly to find the legal stories that matter, helping to elevate the profession for all.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
ETL: How have you seen Law360 Pulse evolve since the launch at the beginning of this year?
It’s really fun because I had overseen legal industry coverage before the launch of Pulse and our staff’s awesome.
Aebra Coe, who’s now an editor-at-large, and Michelle Gorman, who covers in-house issues for us — they were part of our legal industry coverage and they just did a killer job.
But there was always stuff we couldn’t get to. Now, there’s just more we can cover, which is very exciting.
I think what people have seen is expanded coverage of personalities across the industry, who we’re really fascinated by. And things like more Q&A’s and profiles.
ETL: Have any stories come up recently that have just been particularly interesting to you?
I would highlight Brandon Lowrey’s work on the Tom Girardi case. Tom Girardi is a famous plaintiffs lawyer out in California, who has come under fire for allegedly stealing, losing — whatever you want to call it —plaintiff funds from all these settlements.
It’s just a total mess and there’s also a celebrity factor to it because he’s married to a Real Housewife of Beverly Hills, right?
But at the end of the day, there are all these victims and families who allegedly lost a ton of money — and didn’t see money they deserve because of what may have been some serious misdeeds inside of a law firm.
It’s just a fascinating story that’s sad, and hopefully paves the way for some reforms that prevent future instances of this down the road.
And with the pandemic, I really can’t stress enough how fascinating I think the way firms are responding has become.
ETL: Has any story been surprising to you?
I’ve been pleasantly surprised about how people do have an appetite for those more personality-driven stories.
We had a recent story, written by Ryan Boysen, about a federal clerk whose partner was diagnosed with cancer in the middle of her working in all these difficult clerkships. And it was fascinating because that ended up becoming a real support network for her.
And the story was really about how supportive the judges were during this very painful time. It did really well. I just thought that was really cool.
And I think that’s a green light for us to keep pursuing a variety of stories.
ETL: How do you go about finding those really great stories and telling them?
I think it’s a credit to our staff. I think you can give them a topic to explore and they find out that this wasn’t something known to us.
We’re aware of something — like the difficulty of women attorneys in particular, in the middle of the pandemic, and the responsibilities they may face at home increasing and the pressures of the legal career.
You give that to someone as a topic and the legwork they do to find people, to give voices to that sort of story — it’s really amazing every time.
I can think of a story that Cara Bayles, one of our people, wrote along those lines where the item was just full of really powerful individual stories that brought the whole thing home. And I think that’s the way you want to cover these big trend stories, right? You want to find people who are representative of it.
ETL: What will be the big topics of conversation amongst lawyers and law firms as we roll into the fall?
Not to keep bringing up COVID, but I think it is going to be fascinating to see what happens with firms that do manage to hold those fall return-to-work dates.
What are they going to see in terms of implementation? What are they going to see in terms of attorneys responding to whatever hybrid models they’ve decided to adopt?
Eventually, I’m going to be really curious to see how real estate trends play out in certain markets, where it seems like firms might be poised to downsize space. We did a survey last year about real estate trends among law firms because of the pandemic, and D.C., for example, seemed like one area where firms might be looking to downsize space.
Also, the vaccine mandates.
And God forbid, if cases start climbing again, do we see a pullback from that returning to work? And of course, there’s the revenue element of this.
It seems like a very good year in 2020, despite everything — it seems like firms did well from a revenue perspective. Does that continue into 2021? Do we see a fourth quarter that kind of sets that up for the following year?
ETL: Anything new on the Law360 or Law360 Pulse side that’s coming up that you’d like to share with our readers?
I’ll probably be a little vague about it, but we’re going to keep going after certain topics for deeper dives for series.
And then, a bigger push will be some expansion of our coverage in specific areas. So, I would look for that near the end of the year, as well.