Jenna Greene joins Reuters as legal columnistLearn how she approaches her column to say something new and make you smile
A Conversation with Jenna Greene
In this series, we're introducing you to some of the talent and experts that contribute to Thomson Reuters Legal News, which is comprised of Reuters Legal News and Westlaw Today. Thomson Reuters Legal News provides you with tailored and immersive news experiences that meet you, when, where and how you need legal news.
Let’s meet Jenna, a legal columnist with Reuters.
Where do the ideas for your columns come from?
They come from all over the place. Sometimes press releases. Sometimes I will be reacting to a bigger story—finding a specific angle on it. Sometimes it’s a court decision.
But the best ideas come from conversations with law firms and legal professionals. Whether it’s a tip or just catching up with someone and having a chance to ask them what’s going on—those tend to be the most interesting and original ideas. I’m always looking for something new—a new angle, a new take on things—and the best way to get that is from lawyers and other legal professionals who will share what’s happening in their professional lives.
What made you decide to join the Reuters team?
I spent my whole career at American Lawyer Media (ALM), and I have great affection for the organization, but I felt like it was time for a new challenge—for a bigger platform. It had been great working for ALM when my kids were younger because there was a lot of flexibility, but the kids went and grew up on me.
It seemed like this was a point in my life where I could really have a chance to focus completely on my work. Reuters, with its amazing reputation for excellence and its tremendous platform, offered me an opportunity that I couldn’t say “no” to. I knew several people on the legal team who had been former colleagues or had also worked at ALM over the years, so I knew that I would be working with a really top-notch team.
What makes a good column?
I think a great column says something new, and it’s thought provoking. I also hope that it might make you smile—that it’s something you don’t have to read but you want to read. Some of my favorite columns have an element of humor in them. Lawyers spend a lot of time reading things that are very dense and very dry, and I think sometimes it’s nice to read something that has both substance but is also entertaining. It’s telling you something new about the profession you didn’t know but is also a pleasure to read.
What type of feedback do you get from readers and how does that shape your column?
I love getting feedback from readers. I tend to hear from people regularly, and what I found is that they respond really strongly when I share more personal things from my life. Sometimes I write a little bit about my kids, sometimes about other experiences. I think it makes people feel like they know me, like we have a relationship.
I wrote a column last year when my mother-in-law died. She had been an in-house lawyer at Citi Bank, and it was a look at her career as one of the trail-blazing women on Wall Street, and what it was like for her growing up in a small town in Illinois with parents who weren’t particularly supportive of a woman going to law school in 1963. The outpouring of comments and just really lovely notes I got from that piece was incredible.
I think that readers really do like when there’s a personal connection in the things I write. That’s something as a columnist you can do that’s different than just a straight news story, and it’s a privilege.
What else should your readers know?
I love having dialogues with readers. I like having a sense of what’s going on and what matters to people in their professional lives and its intersection with their personal lives.
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