Saturday, June 30, 2007

Big Up to Little Exhibit A

As a disclaimer, I admit I'm a hard sell on new print publications. I came out of newspapers and magazines. I've read it. I've seen it. I've done it. Impress me.

Well, I've waited four issues and have to admit that monthly street freebie Exhibit A does it right, just right. I'll bastardize their logo a bit to give them an upgrade.

It is localized, popularized (and amazingly useful) law. It's largely what we in the biz call toilet reading — short, snappy articles, perfect for when you have a minute or five.

This book (also as we say in the biz) comes from the facile, trendy mind of David Yas. He runs the much beefier and more serious Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. He is a smart and progressive editor, whom we have cited before, like here.

He is on the masthead as editor-in-chief. It looks like the credit for the execution should go to Editor Henriette Campagne.

By the bye, the parent company seems to have hired our favorite ex-writer for the Herald. Kimberly Atkins appears as staff on Lawyers USA.

Anyway, Exhibit A carries fun items, like the guy charged with spraypainting goat genitalia and a sexual aggressor IDed by the burrito in his pants. However, it's strength is in easy-to-understand useful pieces. For example, a story on bicycle law and lawsuits here centers on lawyer Andrew Fischer, a cyclist who specializes in this. A set of little ones covers the traps and tricks of contracts we all sign for cellphones, health club and such.

This follows in the tradition of the pioneers in the field, Popular Psychology and Popular Science. Each in its own way took heavy material and left out the footnotes and unnecessary complexity.

Unfortunately, of the recent spate of freebies, Exhibit A is the only winner. The Metro and BostonNOW both made lots of promises, which they have failed miserably at fulfilling. They both are toilet reading too, but in those cases, they belong in the porcelain bowl instead of next to it.

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