Why Law360 is succeeding — and making money covering the business of law
by Chris Roush
TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE
Magnus Hoglund, the co-founder of Law360, is changing how the business media covers the legal profession.
The site, which was founded by Hoglund and Marius Meland initially as a way to cover the laws surrounding intellectual property, was created in a Starbucks and launched in 2005.
Now, the private company has sold more than 1,400 accounts, mainly to law firms and corporations. The prices for an account vary, and Hoglund declined to disclose those prices. It’s also facing increased competition from Bloomberg Law.
“We now have a newsroom in the high 50s, or editors and journalists and reporters,” said Hoglund in an interview Friday morning in New York. “We originally looked at what the other media was writing and covered that.
“Over time, we have become news leaders, through technology, that goes into all federal court systems. We bring all of the news events into the systems, and then our technology queries it.”
A research team then looks at those queries and pitches stories to editors, who then assign the stories to reporters. The news cycle in its newsroom is typically from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. since litigation news often breaks late in the day.
“Everybody is constantly very productive,” said Hoglund, who has an MBA from Columbia University. “We have a low cost per article compared to traditional media companies.”
Law360, which is self-funded, developed its own technology, but it also looks at Twitter feeds from congressmen and regulatory organizations for news items related to the legal beat.
“We think this business model is applicable to covering other business news as well,” he said.
Law360 also needs to have journalists in the courts, particularly the ones that are not online, to cover breaking news. It’s currently expanding its Washington and Delaware editorial operations, and last month it opened bureaus in Los Angeles and Chicago.
“It’s probably over 20 positions that we want to hire for,” said Hoglund. “But we need to train those people, so we can’t hired them all at the same time.”
The only job requirements are two years of work experience or a master’s in business journalism. Law360 administers a test, and it has applicants write stories based on lawsuits and press releases. It tests about 40 people per month.
“For us, the hiring is the most important thing that we do,” said Hoglund. “We have to have people who can get information right and get it out fast.”
Hoglund said Law360 has been growing at 40 percent or more in the last few years, and it’s profitable.
“We still have a lot of new products to launch, and a lot of law firms that we have not penetrated,” said Hoglund. “We’re very focused on litigation, but this fall we’re expanding into transaction law.”
Next year, Law360 plans to expand into legislative law, and is looking at international law. Hogund said the news team could double in the next few years.