This is – as a UK-based foreign football manager might say – a difficult moment for Times Law, which is so committed to austerity that it won’t even stump up the money to cover subscriptions for its contributors...
Posts Tagged: Media
There was a brilliant cartoon in The Sun over the weekend making light of the fact that the internet was deemed worthy of only a single page of the 2,000 page-long Leveson report. Still, there have been suggestions that a new regime of press regulation could be extended to apply to bloggers, if they voluntarily opt-in...
Yesterday may not have been the most relaxing Sunday for a mystery media law partner at Hamlins called "Chris", after a press release in which he was featured caught the attention of The Observer media columnist Peter Preston.
According to Preston, the press release – sent by a PR on behalf of Hamlins – provided notification that "Chris" was about to win a big case against the Mail on Sunday, with the result to be confirmed the next morning when Mr Justice Tugendhat handed down his verdict. The press release also provided quotes from the judge and "Chris" – who Preston refused to name in full but did disclose was a "senior libel partner at 'well-renowned' Hamlins LLP and representative of Hello! magazine among others". In addition, Preston says the PR offered to send out the whole judgment on request.
It turns out that some of this may have been against the rules.
"Hang on!" squawked Preston, "I thought draft judicial verdicts (see Procedure Rules, Practice Direction 40E) couldn't be supplied ahead of publication to "any other person" than the parties involved? Nor be the trigger for anything but "internal" action until then?"
In case you missed it, Miliband spent yesterday afternoon at said inquiry being grilled by Jay.
The political blogger Guido Fawkes reckons this represents an "apparent conflict of interest" which "should see someone else interrogate the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition."
To reinforce his point, Fawkes – who, incidentally, was a surprise attendee at the April legal tweet-up at the Melton Mowbray pub in Holborn – added: "Imagine the fuss if Jay was Sam Cam’s boss…"
Law in Action, the long-running Radio 4 legal programme, is to have its funding scaled back as part of a £500,000 cost-saving at the BBC.
The show’s normal schedule – which sees 12 episodes broadcast a year – will continue until at least 2013. From then it had been suggested that fewer episodes will be recorded. However, this now seems unlikely, with the show expected to continue on its current schedule on a reduced budget for the foreseeable future.
Never upstage the boss. And that rule applies double when your boss is Master of the Rolls Lord Neuberger, who has publicly rounded on members of the judiciary for appearing on BBC show MasterChef when it filmed an episode in Middle Temple.
Muscling his way back into the spotlight with a publicity-grabbing speech to Birmingham University law students – which was placed on the judiciary’s website on Friday and immediately picked up by the Guardian and the Telegraph – Neuberger claimed that senior legal figures of the past would have reacted with "horror" to the MasterChef affair.
There is one question any serious journalist couldn’t fail to ask Mark Stephens CBE, the top media lawyer who has probably appeared in more big name cases than any other solicitor: “Does Julian Assange really have bad B.O.?”
When I ask him this, Stephens creates a silence and looks down at his plate (which contains sea-bass; we’re eating at the offices of his firm, Finers Stephens Innocent, near Great Portland Street in central London). I sense disappointment and frustration. Then looking up slightly, but not enough to meet my eye, he says: “That’s not something I ever noticed. I think it was a media-manufactured thing that just caught on.”
According to Private Eye, Assange “quarrelled violently with his lawyers”, “refusing to pay [the] bills” of Stephens and Geoffrey Robertson QC. But Stephens is not keen to discuss Assange today. He has more pressing matters to deal with, like homophobia, in relation to which he is working to bring about changes to the law.
Yesterday, it was with considerable surprise that I happened upon ‘Jogging with the FT: Mark Stephens’ - an interview with the high profile media lawyer conducted while he ran around Regent’s Park.
Now, Stephens (pictured below) may be many things – charming, down-to-earth, super PR savvy for a lawyer – but a shining example of physical fitness he ain’t.
Julian Assange’s former lawyer continues: “I’ve put on far more weight than I should’ve done,” adding: “The lawyer’s lifestyle takes its toll.”
So why's Stephens fronting an instructional piece in a national newspaper about keeping fit? My theory is that he ended up doing it as a consolation prize after something went wrong during negotiations to appear in the more famous ‘Lunch with the FT’ interview series.
The legal press is not always what it seems, says Alex Aldridge
I’m always surprised by how uncritically lawyers read what’s written in the legal press. Many don’t realise that each magazine has a commercial agenda that strongly influences how it writes - and what it writes about.
Last week, the City law firm Linklaters released a load of information about itself – from financial data, to figures about how many corporate social responsibility (CSR) hours its lawyers do. The way the two main legal mags, The Lawyer and Legal Week, reported this information revealed a lot about each of them.
Legal Week kicked things off on Tuesday with a story about Linklaters’ CSR report, headlined: ‘Linklaters CSR report shows £8m investment in charity and pro bono’. This was striking, because easily the most newsworthy element of Linklaters' CSR report was the dramatic 31.5% fall in the amount of time its staff spent volunteering, with total CSR hours dropping from 63,750 to 43,660 (something which Legal Week did mention, but as a secondary piece of information). At a time of ongoing negotiations about historic cuts to the legal aid budget, as part of which doubts about the private sector’s reliability as a source of pro bono assistance are a key factor, Legal Week's decision to present the story the way it did shows how reluctant it has become to aggravate law firms.