What do you get when you hire over-educated writers and ask them to produce a muck-raking tabloid for professionals? In the case of Breaking Media, you get a badly behaved but valuable audience of lawyers and bankers.

The company’s signature Above the Law site now has nearly a million monthly readers who enjoy smart legal coverage mixed with crass chatter about sex and salaries. The site’s no-holds barred comment section has also attracted a large and rabid mob of lawyers who make Howard Stern’s fans look genteel in comparison.

Behind all this noise, though, is an interesting plan to leverage a valuable audience of professionals that once belonged only to staid trade publications.

paidContent caught up with Breaking Media CEO John Lerner in Soho last month to talk about the trio of sites — Above the Law, DealBreaker and Fashionista — that were founded in 2007 by Gawker’s Elizabeth Spiers. Here’s some takeaways from the conversation.

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