Just before the holidays, Law360 canceled its long-running and well-regarded podcast Pro Say, much to the surprise of people in law and legal media. Pro Say, which debuted in 2017, was considered one of the top legal news podcasts on the market and was particularly popular among lawyers and law students. It even had its Hollywood moment in 2022 when the titular character of Disney Plus’ She-Hulk: Attorney at Law was shown listening to the podcast.
The decision to cut the show came, seemingly, out of nowhere. Pro Say co-host and Law360 senior reporter Alex Lawson told Hot Pod that the team was notified only two days before they recorded the show’s last episode, which published on December 21st. According to senior producer Steven Trader, the show hadn’t experienced a decline in listenership or any other hiccups that usually precede a cancellation. Even more confusingly, only 10 days prior, the Pro Say team had given a presentation — at the request of management — for staffers on how to pitch the show.
But Pro Say was a departure from Law360’s normal model. Nearly all of the work produced by the legal publication, which is owned by legal information and analytics company LexisNexis, which is in turn owned by general business analytics company RELX, is behind a (very high) paywall. For seven years, how much or little the podcast generated didn’t matter. The weekly show was a side gig for staffers who produced journalism that went behind the paywall. Trader said only in 2022 did the show seek to seriously pursue analytics and ads when it started publishing with Megaphone. And even then, nobody in management was hounding the team about downloads or ad sales.