Sunday, 15 April 2012
The Day of Reckoning for lawyers has come, according to legal publishing entrepreneur Mary Heaney, original founder of Legal Week, takelegaladvice.com, insidedivorce.com, and more recently Global Legal Post (formerly European Lawyer and Global Lawyer). I met her and colleague Maria Sunderland for lunch this week - and we all thoroughly enjoyed looking back down the years: I have known Mary since the days she was a humble news reporter at The Lawyer, even before she became News Editor and then Editor - and years before she left to launch rival Legal Week.
I asked her to expand on this theme of the legal profession's Day of Reckoning. 'When I look at all these changes coming from deregulation and the advent of ABSs, also the changing buying patters of in-house lawyers [as famously described in Jomati's End of the Golden Era report], I see how easy it has been for years for lawyers to make money and how now they are having to work much harder for it. From the high street client to the big PLC legal team, clients are demanding something different.'
So do you think lawyers have been complacent all these years? I asked.
'What I'm saying is that now we are seeing a wider gap between the extremely talented and the middle of the road' Well, that's got to be good for consumers of legal services, whenever they are in the marketplace.
Adapting to change is something that Mary knows a lot about. She's famous for her itchy feet and always wanting to move on to the next big challenge. She did well on the sale of Legal Week to Incisive Media in 2005 but bored quickly of a life of leisure and returned to the legal publishing market in 2006 to launch the groundbreaking takelegaladvice.om. This is Europe's first and only online comparison site for legal services and is dedicated to bringing transparency to the legal market enabling consumers and businesses to make truly informed choices about the lawyers they use.
Our meeting this week came shortly after the launch of the new-look Global Legal Post, an amalgamation of The European Lawyer, Global Lawyer and LegalDay.com. But the big new idea for the new magazine is to be a digest of legal media and content specifically designed for busy lawyers always on the move.
'Lawyers' appetite for information is more voracious than ever, but they need it in new ways. Whether in-house or in private practice, they are moving faster than ever. We offer news via a number of channels, to suit all needs: the immediacy of the website and e-alerts, as well as a monthly hard copy. Also, we are amalgamating the most important legal news and delivering it in one place for them on the one hand, and providing original insightful content on the other.'
Their international reach is impressive, as you'd expect given their history: almost 90,000 lawyer subscribers reached across the globe, 50% in house and 50% in private practice.
Exciting to sit back and watch Mary Heaney take over the world...
Satirists had a field day this week with the news that plans to extradite radical cleric Abu Hamza have been approved by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. For some reason, the story sparked some particularly creative offerings from cartoonists, comedians and other satirists.
Nicknamed Captain Hook by the tabloids because of the hook replacing his right hand and his missing eye, most of the satire focussed on his appearance.
The Times published an excellent cartoon by David Haldane, depicting the arrival of Abu Hamza's false arm at the US Department of Justice and the caption 'We're receiving him in monthly instalments.' My favourite though, has to be this key rack pictured left. Bad taste I know, but priceless.
Only 10 days to go till Sundance London, Robert Redford's film and music festival - in London for only its second year. This will be my first visit and I can't wait.
Treats in store include an evening with the great man himself and T Bone Burnett, moderated by Nick Hornby, a myriad of features and shorts by up-and-coming filmmakers, plus musical delights such as sessions by Tricky and Rufus and Martha Wainwright.
...but because watching Robert Redford on screen is always time well spent, here's a link to a video snippet of the great man discussing his plans for Sundance London with Sky News.