Relax with our favorite long reads of 2023

Relax with our favorite long reads of 2023


Year in Review

Relax with our favorite long reads of 2023

Cozy chair and cup of cocoa in front of a fire

Image from Shutterstock.

Hopefully you’re going to have some time over the winter holidays to cozy up with a good story. We’ve curated a list of some of our favorite web and print long reads from 2023. There’s a mix of popular features and some under-the-radar stories that you may have missed.

For first-time advocates before the U.S. Supreme Court, it can come as a shock when they realize how close they are to the justices—so close some are just out of their sight line. In the words of Supreme Court veteran Neal Katyal, Chief Justice John Roberts “sees everything—he sees you sweat.”

Lawyers and academics interviewed by the ABA Journal say the application process for the $800 billion loan program, part of the 2020 coronavirus stimulus package known as the CARES Act, was fraught with fibbers. Many doubt that most of the bad actors will be arrested because the volume of fraud seems so high.

It’s rare to meet a 100-year-old lawyer. It’s perhaps even rarer to sit with that lawyer and listen as they reflect on their life and career. Alexander Forger, who joined the centenarian club in February, recently gave the ABA Journal that opportunity.

Joshua Browder first made headlines back in 2015 when he started DoNotPay at age 18, the summer before enrolling in the computer science program at Stanford University. Back then, the curly-haired bespectacled teenager pitched a free chatbot to fight parking tickets. During that period, he came across as the archetypal tech geek—studious, awkward and endearing—promising to rally against corporations and governments and open up the justice system to more Americans.

Lawyers are among the millions who have rushed to ChatGPT, the generative artificial intelligence platform that has taken the world by storm. But after a bug revealed some users’ chat histories and payment data, some attorneys might be thinking, “not so fast.”

“I feel that the historical significance of this case is that it is the beginning of the modern Civil Rights Movement in America,” Joe Bell says. “We wanted to shine light on the light of truth upon an appalling injustice: why no one has been brought to justice all throughout the years.”

“I think it’s important for lawyers to engage students, to let them know this is what we do, these are the issues we tackle,” says Jonathan Nwagbaraocha, vice chair of the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources. “Whether they go to law school, whether they practice in the long term, it’s really about getting the word out that this is something they might find interesting.”

For the past two years, singer-songwriter Fiona Apple has volunteered with Courtwatch PG, the largest court watch program in the country, to observe legal proceedings in Prince George’s County, Maryland, from her home in Los Angeles. Apple has also joined a group of advocates calling attention to the concept of court watching and aiming to get more people involved.

Young lawyers are candid about striking a balance between work and their personal lives. For some, that means leaving behind BigLaw’s relentless pace for other kinds of work. For others, it means finding a workplace culture aligned with their priorities and values.

Brian Wallach was preparing for a case in 2017 when he felt a weakness in his left hand. At 36 years old, the assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois ignored it. He had been on the track and field team at Yale, after all, and he was healthy. Why worry?

Aha moments are often likened to lightning strikes. But California family lawyer Nicole “Nico” Smith’s life-changing decision to become a professional firefighter followed an actual lightning strike.

With the popularity of social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok, Reddit, Twitter and YouTube, online armchair detectives have been able to help authorities in some cases by offering tips. But there also have been instances of misinformation, fake experts and unsupported theories being presented as fact and of innocent people being targeted.


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