The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

Subscribe to David Lat's "Original Jurisdiction" Substack

Relive the glory days of Above the Law excellence for only $50/year.


For nearly two decades, David Lat has been a permanent fixture in our legal culture. First, with Underneath Their Robes, and later with Above the Law, David brought his keen eye to every aspect of the courts, lawyering, and pop culture. I started law school in 2006, and started reading Above the Law in 2007. I loved his posts on law school antics, law firm scandals, and legal developments. At the time, Big Law was booming. Then, in 2008, I was a summer associate. That was the dreadful period when everything fell apart. David's inside reporting became something of a bible. We would learn, almost in real time, which firms were conducting "stealth layoffs" or were slashing bonuses. Around the same time, David brought other voices to Above the Law. He even held a realty-show themed contest to pick a new editor.

Over the ensuing decade, regrettably, I read Above the Law less and less. New authors wrote about topics that deviated from ATL's core. (Present company included). In 2017, David stepped down as Above the Law managing editor. Things went downhill quickly. In recent years, I have found much of Above the Law not worth following. Indeed, there have been several critical pieces about me that I haven't even bothered to read. Not worth my time. What began as a nerdy, slightly right-of-center site, transformed into an exhausting, woke jeremiad. It made me sad to see this downfall, because I have spent so many years invested in the site.

But now, you can reclaim the glory days of Above the Law. Earlier this year, David launched a new Substack newsletter, Original Jurisdiction. David is the sole editor, and has complete control over the site. And he has brought back the magic of what made UTR and ATL great. There are posts, at least once a week, that break down the business of lawyering. But David also brings levity and nerdy stuff to make me chuckle. He is also breaking news, with his deep cadre of sources. You will learn things from David which you cannot find anywhere else.

Substack is a unique model. It allows authors to charge a modest sum to deliver content. In exchange, readers get a clean, ad-free experience. I just signed up for an annual plan of $50/year. Or you can pay $5 per month. I encourage you to subscribe today. It is important to support voices like David in the dwindling legal blogosphere.

NEXT: Foreign Dictators in U.S. Court, Part I

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  1. I mean, why would I pay $50 per year to get one writers opinion? Expecially when so many do it for free?

    Like, I subscribe to Stratechery, but Ben Thompsons offers a view on technology that simply doesn't exist anywhere else.

    At that price, I can subscribe to the economist, two subscriptions run me the cost of the financial times. Those have actual investigative journalism. And intelligent discussions with multiple perspectives based on actual data analytics. Not just one guy ...

    I dont understand this phenomenal to be honest. Like I'll read substack but I'm not gonna pay for it unless there is something more than some random persons opinion. Opinion based on what? What data? What interviews? What investigations?

    1. Bill and Melinda Gates are getting divorced. The lockdown was caused by the tech billionaires. It enriched them by $1.7 trillion. Bill and Melinda were forced to spend time together. This divorce will cost Gates $65 billion. Karma is an ultra-bitch.

      1. And you're giving all that away for free!

  2. Indeed, there have been several critical pieces about me that I haven't even bothered to read.

    Pull the other one.

  3. I go to Substack to read Greenwald and Weiss.

    1. There are a few writers whose output I value enough to pay Substack prices for. Weiss barely falls outside my total budget -- although I'll revisit in a few months and ACX or Taibbi might fall below my threshold for renewing, freeing up a slot for Weiss. ACX is probably in more danger; Scott Alexander seems to be doing quite well enough in terms of subscribers, and he asks for more than the others but offers less substantive commentary and analysis (unless I suddenly start caring deeply about clinical psychiatry). I expect Greenwald will stay on the list.

      1. I suppose having all of the disaffected, inconsequential misfits at one spot isn't so bad for anyone. The malcontents can huddle together for warmth; everyone else can easily avoid them.

        Carry on, clingers. May Bari Weiss lead you . . . to political and cultural irrelevance.

      2. "Weiss barely falls outside my total budget"

        This is antisemitism.

  4. If this law thing doesn't work out for the blackman kid, maybe he can transition to pitchman work for the flex seal family of products, or maybe carshield.

    1. I figure his next stop is as a faith healer, or televangelist. A shoddy commercial product generally fails over time. Downscale right-wingery, though, is forever popular among the gullible clingers.

  5. Gosh, a once-valuable website whose interest and value has declined in recent years due to some regrettable personnel changes and shift in focus? Where have I heard that one before...?

    Not to put too fine a point to it, Josh - the VC, itself, used to be a place where law professors would work out interesting legal arguments, at length, eliciting the contributions of an informed and engaged commentariat. It wasn't always the career-pumping platform - and, I guess, Substack promoter? - that you've taken it to be. You appear to have been added only because its more sophisticated and interesting contributors have moved on to other, hopefully more constructive pursuits; while you, in your inimitable and preposterous narcissism, do not seem to ever tire of hearing yourself speak. You provide content, in other words.

    And so, unfortunately, we are left with your dreck.

    1. Simon. Those are personal insults. Take it easy. Calm down. Feel free to contribute high quality comments.

      1. I've seen your comments, so I have no reason to take your criticism seriously.

  6. Indeed, there have been several critical pieces about me that I haven't even bothered to read. Not worth my time.

    AYFKM? You'd link some blogger from Tristan da Cunha if he quoted you. You've read every word written about you at ATL, and you would very much like us all to know that you are definitely not Mad Online.

  7. I have a policy against paying for services with arbitration clauses. Arbitration means they can drain my bank account, give me nothing, and I can't sue. Perhaps the Democratic socialists will rein in arbitration, but I think that will come after they ban heterodoxy online.

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