How do legal magazines that have seen their print advertising revenues plummet over the last few years make money? They hold Oscars-style awards ceremonies for lawyers – and flog tables for £4,000 a pop to law firms which are “nominated” for their prestigious prizes.
Well, it used to be £4,000. Indeed, 2012 prices at The Lawyer, Legal Week and monthly title Legal Business remain around that mark once you factor in VAT. But the snappily-named International Financial Law Review (IFLR) – where as an interesting aside, The Independent editor Chris Blackhurst began his career – has just upped the ante. A table at the IFLR’s forthcoming European awards ceremony in March will set firms back a massive £7,000!
The poor souls are worried. “Could we be on the verge of a wave of award price inflation?” an anonymous source within one City firm quivered.
The trouble is, glory-starved corporate lawyers just can’t resist the intoxicating promise of gleaming trophies engraved with sentences like “leveraged debt finance restructuring team of the year”, not to mention the glitzy dinners down the Dorchester where these life-affirming honours are disseminated. And with research revealing this week that average City law bonuses stand at £35,500, it’s clear they still have the cash to spend on such luxuries – even in a recession.
For trade mag publishers, who are fighting desperately to protect hefty pay packets secured during better times, life is tougher. Rather than complain, perhaps law firms should re-allocate awards’ ticket costs to their corporate social responsibility (CSR) budgets, and then give themselves a much-needed pat on the back for their generosity.