10 Questions with Law360's Adam Rhodes
1. What is your role at Law360? What does that entail?
I am a general assignment reporter at Law360. I cover mergers and acquisitions, private equity, real estate, capital markets and construction. On a day-to-day basis, I sift through legal filings and write articles on interesting developments within those beats.
I also compile a roundup of some notable, but unconfirmed corporate deals for the Deals Rumor Mill. I have been getting more into feature writing in a variety of areas outside of my normal beats. My most recent projects have centered on legislative efforts to ban cosmetic surgeries on non-consenting intersex minors and how civil rights groups are continuing to fight for net neutrality.
2. You have served on the Mobilization Committee during your recent contract negotiations. How has mobilizing helped the unit secure such a strong first contract?
I think the unified mobilizing effort played a crucial role in obtaining our strong contract. The Bargaining Committee’s efforts cannot be overstated, but those efforts, combined with a unified and committed newsroom that was willing to do whatever it took to secure what we felt we deserved are what helped us set the bar so high.
3. How has the union transformed your workplace?
Before unionizing Law360 was pretty much a catacomb-level quiet newsroom where people just came in, worked their asses off to get out on time and didn’t really get to know their coworkers — you can blame the now-defunct onerous quota system for that. The union has completely turned all of that around to the point that the newsroom is unrecognizable. The office is brighter, it’s friendlier and people have the time and emotional bandwidth to make important personal and professional connections with each other.
4. How have you seen the industry shift from your perspective?
I think by and large I’ve seen a lot more diversity in the people controlling the narrative and I can’t overstate how much I love that. The industry definitely has a long way to go in terms of letting minorities tell their stories or even acknowledging that those stories exist, but progress is worth celebrating.
5. What was the most surprising aspect of our industry for which college didn’t prepare you?
I think college really didn’t prepare me for how much luck really goes into making it in this industry. I’ve seen some exceptional journalists lose their passion or be pushed out of the industry due to layoffs or sparse job opportunities. There’s no doubt that skill and talent play a huge role in this industry, but luck (like being in the right place at the right time to land a job) is an important part of the industry that can’t be taught in a classroom.
6. Where do you see the media industry in five years?
I truly have no idea. We could have a new president that doesn’t call us “fake news” or we could have more of the same or even worse rhetoric being thrown at us. I think the industry will adapt to whatever comes next, good or bad.
7. Where do you go or what do you do to stay on top of digital trends that might affect or influence your work?
I make a lot of effort to see what queer people of color, people from different cultural and religious backgrounds and people with different abilities are saying and doing. You want to know what’s coming next? Pay attention to the people who can’t afford to tune out.
8. What makes you hopeful for the media industry? What worries you?
I’m encouraged by all the minority voices I have seen that have been able to capture the narrative and tell our stories despite a number of institutional barriers. I’m definitely still worried by how un-diverse so many newsrooms remain and how little effort upper management seems to want to take to rectify those problems
9. Beyond workplace protections, how else can/have you seen the union effect change in our industry?
I think the union has really made its various shops into collaborators as opposed to staunch rivals. There’s an inherent rivalry in the media industry that won’t go away, but the union, for lack of a better word, has unified the industry in a lot of ways. I saw a lot of this during Law360’s contract fight, when members of other units came to our walk outs, showed us support on social media and congratulated us on our contract.
10. You also serve on the Guild’s LGBTQ+ Caucus. Tell us the importance of member-led initiatives such as this.
The LGBTQ+ Caucus, in my not-so humble opinion, is the perfect example of the power that unions hold and how accessible that power is to members from all shops combined. Member-led initiatives like the Caucus are how we enact meaningful and serious change in our industry, and without members from a variety of shops moving together in a collective, unified and empowered way, the industry has no incentive to move forward.
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