Sunday, 12 February 2012

Matt Byrne

Matt Byrne is an exceptionally busy man these days. Since The Lawyer's redesign at the start of the year and its brave decision to put all its news online, devoting the weekly hard copy edition to news analysis and features, it's no surprise that the job of features editor just got bigger.  Much bigger.

"It's a lot of work, but great fun!" says Matt. This is an exciting time at The Lawyer.  Our relaunch was all about grasping the nettle and facing up to just how radically news consumption has changed / is changing.  As Cat said at the time of the redesign, we now compete with news services that send updates direct to lawyers' phones.  We had to have a fundamental  re-think about how we distribute our material.  Online is clearly best for news - and our Lawyer News Daily email makes it accessible and immediate via people's  phones.  And the hard copy print still wins every time when it comes to that more in-depth, analytical read."

So now Matt has four opinion slots a week to play with, plus a new column called The Lawyer Business, which profiles a non-lawyer law firm manager each week discussing how they approach their role - a CEO, COO or FD for example - plus of course the old stalwarts such as the ever-popular Work-Life Quiz.  And he has plans for more feature columns, yet to be revealed.

Of all the legal journalists I know, Matt is among the handful with truly impressive pedigrees.   He started life as a reporter at Legal Business way back in the 1990s and moved to The Lawyer eight years ago.  At one point he was stationed in New York, reporting for The Lawyer on legal market trends that side of the pond.  Since taking on the role as features editor, his creative flair has come to the fore - witness all his new ideas now his pages have expanded.  This man of course was a professional musician in a former life, in fact once had a recording contract - and has been known to sup beer with the likes of U2's Bono and The Edge.  He can still regularly be seen on the London pub and club circuit, top gigging venues such as the Boogaloothe Dublin Castlethe Jazz Cafethe Garage, etc - and just very occasionally he and the band can be spied at a lawyer party.  I was lucky enough to see The Truemen play at Matrix Chambers 10th anniversary bash at Fabric a year or so ago for example.

I have to say that if anyone should have the role of being in charge of my in-depth regular read, there's no one better, nor more qualified for the role, than this man!

Amazing how Harry Redknapp has gone from villain to hero overnight.  Only a short time ago he was vilified in the press for alleged tax evasion, now he is being heralded as our best option for England Manager.  The ability of certain sections of the press to turn a person's reputation on a sixpence never ceases to amaze...  

What I've found even more interesting in this story though is the debate about England players expressing their preferences for their next manager on Twitter. Among others, former Manchester United and Ireland captain Roy Keane has spoken out, saying 'player power' may be counter-productive in the search for a new manager.  The players obviously have massive followings on Twitter given their celebrity status.  Does the posting of their views on Fabio Capello's replacement unbalance the debate?  A new twist in the story of the power of Twitter, for sure.

So, do any lawyer colleagues still need convincing about the power of Twitter?  Do some still maintain Twitter is an inappropriate of irrelevant medium for the conservative business of law? You might like to point out to them this week's big news - that the Supreme Court, no less, has started tweeting.  

There was one slight glitch apparently: initially the Twitter feed stated the Court would not be accepting Freedom Of Information requests via Twitter, but within just a few tweets the Court had to change its position as experts pointed out this contravened official guidelines from the Information Commissioner.

Curious to know what they've been tweeting?  Take a look @UKSupremeCourt.  And take this opportunity to encourage some of your Luddite colleagues to sign up and follow!

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