Interview: How To Become a Legal Commentator

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By Alex Aldridge on

Last Thursday, for the first time in ages, I bought a copy of The Times.

Its law supplement – which just a few years ago was seen as the definitive source of UK legal news – looked forlorn, populated with stories covered earlier, and in more depth, by the growing band of hybrid lawyer-journo bloggers spewing out frighteningly good commentary and analysis, then disseminating it in real-time via Twitter.

Former barrister Carl Gardner is one of the pioneers of this group, having founded his blog, Head of Legal, in 2006, after quitting the Government Legal Service (GLS) with what at the time looked like a far-fetched vision of becoming a legal commentator and writer…

12 months later Twitter took off, allowing Gardner to get his work out to a wider audience. From there, alongside the likes of David Allen Green and Adam Wagner, he has built a reputation among the mainstream media as a go-to guy for expert quotes on legal issues and branched out into audio through the #WithoutPrejudice podcast. Meanwhile, he has used his online profile to develop a consultancy practice to fund his writing.

A few days ago, Gardner took some time out from his hectic schedule to visit Legal Cheek‘s sumptuous Hackney studios. Over a cup of the finest instant coffee, he charts the ups and downs of his journey, offering pointers to wannabes seeking to follow in his footsteps, before sharing his (admittedly rather hedged) predictions about the future of the relationship between law, journalism and blogging. Interestingly, unlike me, he thinks newspaper law sections may have some life left in them yet.