David Lat is a lawyer turned writer. He publishes Original Jurisdiction, a newsletter on Substack about law and legal affairs, and he writes for newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.
Prior to launching Original Jurisdiction, David founded Above the Law (“ATL”), one of the nation’s largest legal news websites, which reaches more than 1.5 million unique visitors a month. He served as managing editor from ATL from 2006 to 2017.
David’s first significant online publication was Underneath Their Robes (“UTR”), a buzz-generating blog about federal judges that David launched in June 2004, writing under a pseudonym while working as a federal prosecutor. In November 2005, he revealed his identity as UTR’s author in an interview with the New Yorker magazine.
David’s first book, Supreme Ambitions: A Novel, was published in 2014 to rave reviews. According to the New York Times, “for an elite niche — consisting largely of federal judges and their clerks — Supreme Ambitions has become the most buzzed-about novel of the year.”
Before entering the media world, David worked as a federal prosecutor in Newark, New Jersey; a litigation associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, in New York; and a law clerk to Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. David graduated from Regis High School, where he participated actively in speech and debate and was a national champion in extemporaneous speaking; Harvard College, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, where he wrote an opinion column for the Harvard Crimson; and Yale Law School, where he served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal and was a finalist in the Morris Tyler Moot Court of Appeals competition.
In March 2020, David became one of the first New Yorkers to contract the novel coronavirus, which turned into a life-threatening case of Covid-19 for him. He wound up spending 17 days in the hospital, including almost a week in critical condition in the intensive care unit, and he was one of the earliest Covid-19 patients to go onto — and come off of — a ventilator. He ran up a $320,000 hospital bill (which thankfully he didn’t have to pay).
David chronicled his battle with Covid-19 in real time on Twitter and Facebook, where he continues to post updates on his recovery from the disease, and wrote about his ordeal for the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and Slate. He also spoke about his coronavirus experience with a wide range of media outlets, including the TODAY Show (with Savannah Guthrie), CBS This Morning, the Rachel Maddow Show, and Nightline, among many others.
In his free time, David enjoys reading (primarily fiction and law-related nonfiction), film, theater, exercise, and running (a two-time New York City Marathon finisher). He lives in Summit, New Jersey, with his husband and son.
Awards and Recognition
- In 2020, David was named as one of four finalists for the American Lawyer‘s Attorney of the Year Award: “By publicly sharing his harrowing experience with and recovery from COVID-19, Lat gave the legal industry—and the rest of the country—an early window into the severity of the virus, changing the way many people understood its potential for harm and encouraging a more concerted response.”
- In 2020, David received the Dan Bradley Award, the highest honor of the National LGBT Bar Association, which recognizes the efforts of a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender legal community to advance LGBT equality under the law.
- In 2009, the ABA Journal, the flagship publication of the American Bar Association, named David to its inaugural class of “Legal Rebels,” a group of 50 of the legal profession’s leading innovators.
- In 2011, he was named to the first class of the Fastcase 50, “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries, and leaders.”
- In 2013, David was honored by the American Lawyer as one of “The Top 50 Innovators in Big Law in the Last 50 Years.”
- During David’s time as managing editor of Above the Law (2006-2017), the site received numerous awards, including recognition by the Weblog Awards (Best Law Blog), the ABA Journal Blawg 100 (Best News Blog), and the Webby Awards (Official Honoree).
- In 2009, a cover story he co-authored (with Kashmir Hill and Marisa Kashino) for Washingtonian magazine was a finalist for the Dateline Award in magazine feature writing, awarded by the D.C. chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).
Contact and Connect
(For issues relating to Above the Law, please contact the current editors by email, at email@example.com.)
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