The ABA Journal has a new publisher and editor-in-chief, according to sources familiar with the hiring. He is John O’Brien, a journalist who has held a number of reporting and editing roles in the Chicago area.

As I reported here in September, the magazine’s former editor and publisher, Molly McDonough, resigned after three years in that role and 18 years as a member of the editorial staff.

Her decision to leave came after several years of ABA-imposed budget cuts at the magazine and ahead of the magazine’s forced move to a new .org website platform that does not support all of the editorial and advertising features now available on

O’Brien was most recently senior editor/copy chief at in Chicago. He formerly held senior editor and managing editor roles at The Real Deal Chicago, DNAinfo, SouthtownStar, Sun-Times Media, Daily Southtown, and Joliet Herald-News.

He has a master’s degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield and a bachelor’s degree in American studies from the University of Notre Dame.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.