It’s not just the legal profession that is feeling the squeeze; the journalists who write about it are suffering, too.
Coverage of law is much reduced in the national newspapers – with The Times, for example, down to just one full-time legal reporter for print and online. Meanwhile, legal magazines are getting ever thinner.
Indeed, Legal Week has so few pages these days that there has been speculation that it could go online only. Its sister title, Accountancy Age, already has…
Certainly, it will be interesting to see how Legal Week, which was launched 14 years ago as a City-focused spin-off from The Lawyer, responds to the decision of three out of four of its reporters to seek alternative employment. Their departures follow last month’s announcement that the magazine’s longstanding editor, Alex Novarese, is being moved upstairs to a part-commercial position.
Novarese maintained that the departures were “totally unconnected” to his change of role. He added: “The three people who are leaving are doing so for very different reasons. One reporter had already resigned, after being with us for four and half years and wanting a new challenge, and my understanding is that another reporter who wants to do an MA had already been accepted in a place. Good for her. A third decided they didn’t want to do journalism, which is a shame but happens from time to time.”
Last year, a publishing industry executive drew a comparison between journalists and blacksmiths circa 1912, “when there were a lot of blacksmiths about and we were about to get the motor car”, and suggested that there is room for just one major print trade magazine per industry.
In comparison, the supposedly Darwinian challenges facing lawyers in the wake of the implementation of the Legal Services Act look, well, not so Darwinian.