Acting Director of Communications
New Jersey Lawyer Magazine Is Reaching New Heights
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Over the past several years, New Jersey Lawyer Magazine, the official publication of the New Jersey State Bar Association, has grown considerably in size and popularity. In fact, some issues of the bi-monthly publication have sparked interest across the country, while breaking new ground in areas of focus.
“A decade ago New Jersey Lawyer Magazine published an average of 32 to 36 pages an issue, with the entire magazine focusing on one topic,” says Cheryl Baisden, managing editor. “If you weren’t interested in that topic, you might not open the magazine. Today we publish an average of 72 pages per issue—double the size from 10 years ago—and we have broadened the article selection in each issue to include off-topic material that is of interest to far more readers.”
Among the regular features in each issue are articles on attorney ethics written by the Office of Attorney Ethics and detailing actual ethics violations and penalties; a broad range of practice tips; marketing suggestions; book reviews; helpful website guides and an opportunity for legal professionals to contribute creative materials such as short stories, poetry and photography.
“I am pleased we were able to introduce regular features on topics such as ethics and creativity, so that lawyers have a regular venue for expression, rather than limiting such topics to sporadic special issues,” says Steven M. Richman, a former chair of the magazine’s editorial board who presently serves as the publication’s NJSBA Board of Trustees’ liaison.
Breaking New Ground
New Jersey Lawyer Magazine’s August 2005 issue attracted attention from around the country with a timely selection of articles dealing with animal law. The largest issue every published by the magazine, it contained 17 articles addressing such topics as the role of the SPCA, animal cruelty laws, representing animal rights activists, custody disputes, New Jersey’s Vicious Dog Act, veterinary malpractice, advising animal rescue groups, bear hunting and New Jersey’s Wildlife Law and legal issues surrounding equestrian facilities.
Requests to purchase copies of the animal law issue came from across the country, from attorneys practicing in this growing field, law schools teaching animal law, organizations in the animal care and rescue fields and private citizens with an interest in animal issues. Response to the edition, which like all New Jersey Lawyer Magazine issues was mailed free to members of the NJSBA, was so great that the number of copies available for purchase had to be limited to five per request.
The magazine’s upcoming issue on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues, scheduled to be released in April, promises to be groundbreaking and in high demand as well.
A Recipe for Success
“The editorial board feels that the magazine is the premier publication of its kind in the country,” says board chair Mitchell Cobert. “We work hard to make every issue interesting, easy to read and useful as a reference guide. We strive to have each issue be thought-provoking and a keeper. In the future we will continue to produce issues that are meaningful to the practitioner.”
In addition to covering diverse topics and including a wide range of general interest articles, several other factors have contributed to the magazine’s heightened success. Key among these factors was the decision to post the publication to the NJSBA’s website so that association members can view the latest issue and anyone can search back issues for articles of interest and order them online.
“By getting the magazine on the bar's website, we have moved a long way toward making the magazine a venue of choice for contributors, particular lawyers early in their career looking to establish publication credits with a first-rate magazine," explains Richman. “Also, the magazine has been fortunate in its cadre of dedicated, enthusiastic and professional board of editors and the bar's professional staff. They appreciate that the magazine is not merely one of the more public expressions of the New Jersey State Bar Association, but an opportunity for the lawyers who write for the magazine to gain recognition in their field.”
Take a Look at What the Future Holds
Beyond the upcoming editon of alternative lifestyle issues, future topics presently on the schedule include business law, solo practice and marketing, legal writing, international law, homeowners association issues, health law, patient rights and local government.
To view New Jersey Lawyer Magazine’s editorial calendar, visit the NJSBA’s website at www.njsba.com. Click on the “New Jersey Lawyer Magazine” line at the top of the page and then select “Editorial Calendar” from the box. Although issues are subject to change, the magazine is always interested in working with potential authors with a desire to write articles on the planned topic or on unrelated topics.
“Anyone interested in submitting an article or creative material to New Jersey Lawyer Magazine can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 732-937-7521,” says Baisden. “We also welcome letters to the editor and topic suggestions for future issues.”
The New Jersey State Bar Association, incorporated in 1899, is dedicated to the continuing education of lawyers and the public, to reforming and improving the legal system and to aiding in the administration of justice.
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