|David B. Lat|
Bergenfield, New Jersey
|Alma mater||Regis High School
Yale Law School
|Occupation||Blogger and lawyer|
|Known for||Founder of Above the Law|
Lat first began blogging under the pseudonym Article III Groupie, pretending to be a woman, for the judicial gossip blog "Underneath Their Robes," until he revealed his identity in a November 2005 interview with Jeffrey Toobin of The New Yorker. Afterward Lat left his job as assistant U.S. attorney to write for the political blog Wonkette.
In August 2006, Lat launched Above the Law, a blog about law firms and the legal profession, for the Breaking Media network of sites. In July 2008, he became the managing editor of Breaking Media, overseeing its stable of blogs out of its New York office. In December 2009, Lat announced that he would be returning to full-time writing and editing of Above the Law, after a new CEO and executive editor joined Breaking Media.
Underneath Their Robes
In June 2004, Lat anonymously started the website Underneath Their Robes (UTR), a gossip blog about the federal judiciary, under the pseudonym Article III Groupie (also known as A3G). While Lat mentioned his background as a former federal judicial clerk from a top law school, he gave the readers the impression that the author was a female lawyer at a large law firm. The blog became widely popular when it conducted a poll on the "Superhotties of the Federal Judiciary", and several federal judges, including Alex Kozinski and Richard Posner, corresponded with Article III Groupie. The blog interviewed several judges and gained national media coverage in the wake of the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court nominations of John Roberts, Harriet Miers, and Samuel Alito. The blog also served as a clearinghouse for news and gossip about clerks for the Supreme Court, whom A3G called "the Elect."
In November 2005, Lat revealed A3G's identity in an interview with Jeffrey Toobin for the magazine The New Yorker. In the story, Lat gave an explanation for his alter ego: "[t]he blog really reflects two aspects of my personality, I am very interested in serious legal issues as well as in fun and frivolous and gossipy issues. I can go from the Harvard Law Review to Us Weekly very quickly." However, within hours of the article's publication Lat removed his blog from public view at the request of the U.S. Attorney's office, without immediate public explanation. Lat continued to post on UTR until September 2006.
At the end of 2005, Lat left his job at the U.S. attorney's office. He reported that the resignation was his own choice, though his supervisor encouraged him to take any blogging opportunities afforded by his new notoriety. Consequently, in January 2006 Lat became an editor of popular Washington, D.C. blog Wonkette (at the time, part of the Gawker Media network), formerly run by Ana Marie Cox.
Above the Law
As Above the Law's readership and network of informers grew, Lat and his staff began to exercise substantial influence on the legal industry. One of their biggest scoops came in 2012, when Lat "broke the news that one of most prestigious law firms in the world, Dewey & LeBoeuf, which employed more than 1,300 attorneys in 12 countries in 2007, was on the verge of imploding.". Business Insider named Lat one of the 20 biggest legal stars on Twitter, calling his Twitter feed a "treasure trove of law firm gossip, employment trends, stupid law student antics, and pretty much anything else concerning the legal industry."
- Miller, Jonathan. "He Fought the Law. They Both Won.", The New York Times, January 22, 2006. Accessed December 17, 2013. "The child of Filipino doctors, Mr. Lat grew up in blue-collar Bergenfield and well-to-do Saddle River, where his neighbors included former President Richard M. Nixon. When he was young, he would go to the Nixon house to get candy, a Halloween card and a handshake from the former president. "
- Legal Times interview
- David A. Kaplan, Judges: Who's Fairest?, Newsweek, July 19, 2004.
- Jeffrey Toobin, SCOTUS WATCH, The New Yorker, November 21, 2005
- Jonathan Miller, He Fought the Law. They Both Won., The New York Times, January 22, 2006.
- Letter From the Editors: Politics Makes Strange Blogfellows, Wonkette, January 30, 2006.
- Shakeup At Gawker Media: Jesse Oxfeld Out; Shuffle Across Blogs; Two Properties Up For Sale, The Huffington Post, July 2, 2006.
- French, Alex (December 12, 2012). "How Gossip Transformed the Legal Industry". Details. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
- Abby Rogers (Oct 17, 2012). "The 20 Biggest Legal Stars On Twitter". Business Insider. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
- Carlile, Nathan (2006-10-26). "Lawyer-Turned-Blawger Sensation Rises 'Above the Law'". Legal Times (subscription). Retrieved 2007-03-19.