For nearly two decades, one person reigned supreme over the world of legal technology. Such was Monica Bay’s prominence and influence that, when she retired in 2015 after 17 years as editor of Law Technology News, Thomson Reuters honored her with her name and image emblazoned above Times Square. As a dear friend, trusted mentor, and inspirational role model to so many in the world of legal tech, Monica stood alone.

With Monica and David Horrigan at Fenway Park in 2014 for Derek Jeter’s second-to-last game.

I am therefore deeply saddened to report that Monica died Friday, Oct. 27, at the age of 74, after several years of battling a neurological disease. At the time of her death, she was living in El Dorado Hills, Calif., close to her brother Bill and his family.

Monica started in journalism as a rock-and-roll reviewer before going to law school, practicing law briefly, and then joining ALM, where she worked for 30 years.

She started there as a senior editor at ALM’s San Francisco newspaper The Recorder and with Counsel Connect, the predecessor to Beginning in 1998, she moved to New York and became editor of Law Technology News , the former  magazine that has since relaunched digitally as Legaltech News.

With Monica at a Thomson Reuters event during LegalTech 2013.

With Monica at a Thomson Reuters event during LegalTech 2013.

She had just started at LTN and was about to put her first issue to bed when she hit a snag. A scheduled column had fallen through, leaving a hole in the magazine that needed to be filled on short order.

Monica called me and asked if I could help her out. She suggested I write something about the Web, adding that she would need it in just a day or two. I dashed off an article about the Y2K bug, and that became the first installment of the “Web Watch” column I wrote for her for another 15 years.

Monica at LegalTech 2008 flanked by bloggers Carolyn Elefant and Eric Turkewitz.

Monica at LegalTech 2008 flanked by bloggers Carolyn Elefant and Eric Turkewitz.

Over the years of Monica’s leadership of LTN, she, the magazine and its writers won some 53 journalism awards. During her tenure, she oversaw the magazine’s move from pure print to a companion web version and then also a mobile version. Her responsibilities, in turn, went from producing a monthly magazine to producing both the magazine and daily updates to the website.

For many years at the annual Legal Tech conference in New York, Monica hosted a bloggers’ breakfast. In those early days of blogging, it became a must-attend event not only for bloggers, but also for legal tech executives and PR and marketing professionals. She also hosted an annual party at an Irish bar not far from the Hilton that was not to be missed.

One consequence of her move to New York was her introduction to the New York Yankees. She became a rabid fan. Her passion for baseball even came to inform her work at LTN. As she once wrote in an LTN column:

I was mesmerized by the reality that it “takes a team” to win a game or the World Series, and it’s not always the big guns who hit the walk-off home runs.

We have built Law Technology News on that premise, and I vowed as editor that we would serve the entire legal tech community, not just the top dogs. That’s why LTN has created our annual innovation awards; challenged Big Law to list C-level folks on their websites; fought for gender pay equality and pushed to get girls interested in science, technology, engineering and math.

At LegalTech 2005 with blogger Bruce MacEwen.

At LegalTech 2005 with blogger Bruce MacEwen.

Monica also hosted one of the early legal tech podcasts, called Law Technology Now. She discontinued it in 2013, and then revived it in 2016 — with me as her cohost.

One of the most telling stories about Monica is her role in ALM’s coverage of 9/11, the full details of which I wrote about in a 2021 post. I was in Manhattan that day, where I was editor-in-chief of The National Law Journal.

One of Monica’s photos from 9/11.

Not long after the attacks, the ALM editors and reporters who had made it into the offices that day convened for an editorial meeting to discuss how we would coordinate coverage.

One decision we made was to send three two-person teams to Ground Zero to see what they could learn. Of the three teams, only one made it — the team of Monica and David Horrigan, who is today well known as the discovery counsel and legal education director at Relativity, and who was then an NLJ reporter.

Monica played photographer that day to David as reporter. The photographs she returned with were vivid and horrifying — of soot-covered streets, crushed cars, mangled buildings. Monica and David had not known each other well before that day. But their shared experience spawned an enduring friendship between them.

David Horrigan and I visited Monica Bay on Sept. 11, 2020.

On Sept. 11, 2020, David and I drove out to visit Monica at her Berkshires home, where we had lunch and shared memories of that day 19 years earlier. It was the last time I would see Monica in person.

That story illustrates the way that Monica would become a friend to so many, and a friend like few others. For me, one moment 12 years ago epitomizes this.

I had had a major health scare, but had kept it to myself, telling almost no one about it. A few months later, as I was still recovering but doing my best to hide it, I saw Monica at Legal Tech. It took her just a few moments to sense that something was amiss, and soon I found myself sitting off in a corner sharing everything about it with her.

I have been lucky in my life to know some amazing people and make many dear friends. But Monica was truly one of a kind and her loss will be mourned by many.


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.