Eduardo Reyes has to be one of the nicest men in legal journalism. We have known him for years, first as Editor of Legalease's In-House Lawyer magazine and more recently as Features Editor at The Law Society's Gazette. Indeed, it was Eduardo who introduced Clare Turnbull to me, just before she won her award for Outstanding Contribution to Law Firm Marketing at the Legal Business Awards in 2007, after her 12 years in-house at Pinsents. She has worked with me in the Kysen team ever since.
Eduardo is famous for wanting to keep in close touch with his audience, to perfect his understanding of what they need to read / be informed about. Of all the journalists I've known to focus on this so seriously, Eduardo takes this to extremes: at In-House Lawyer he regularly ran round table discussions and focus groups to get to the heart of what was keeping in-house lawyers awake at night. And at The Gazette he is just as diligent in keeping close to his readers.
He was in an uncharacteristically downbeat mood when I spoke to him this week, having just written a thought-provoking piece on the Hillsborough disaster for the Gazette blog. Well, who wouldn't be. He was asking the question whether a cover-up on such a scale could happen again.
"I was in Sheffield on the day of the disaster in 1989, at a student and youth conference just south of the university. So the terrible events of that day are etched indelibly on my mind. It took so long for the facts of what had happened to trickle through to everyone in those pre-mobile days. And of course we know now that the truth took decades to filter through. In contrast, it took far less long for the truth to come out from the 7/7 bombings, with initial attempts to cover up shortcomings of the emergency services immediately "challenged" by amateur footage taken by passers-by on mobile phones. Rather depressingly, it begs the question whether the only difference between people's honesty surrounding the two disasters is sparked by developments in technology rather than a maturing of our collective morality."
Doesn't he think any lessons have been learned from Hillsborough at all? "That's one of the most depressing things about the large scale cover-up: the lost opportunity to draw accurate lessons."
In more positive mood, Eduardo also spoke to us this week about a campaign he is involved in to encourage government funding of research into Rett Syndrome. His youngest daughter suffers from this syndrome and he tells me it may be the first neurological condition to find a cure. There is a Facebook vote for funds to be awarded to a charity at the moment and the particular Rett research charity he and his wife fundraise for is in with a good chance to win. Please do what you can to get as many people to vote for Rett Syndrome Research Trust as possible. Here's the link for you to vote and share...
We have the legal profession's appetite for chocolate to thank for probably our most successful, and definitely our most fun, viral campaign to date. Brand valuation consultants Intangible Business have conducted some worthy research into the link between law firm brands and chocolate bars which The Lawyer ate up hungrily, promoting the story in the magazine's That Friday Feeling e-bulletin and inviting the legal community to suggest its own matches between law firms and chocolate brands. As soon as the story hit people's inboxes, the entire legal profession seemed to down tools and devote time to cooking up tasty morsels to show off their wit and insight. Some of the responses posted on The Lawyer website are unprintable in such a respectable blog as this. ...but you can take a peek through this link here.
To give you a flavour of some of the more polite comparisons contained in Intangible Business's original report, here's a couple of titbits for you to enjoy.
Slaughter and May was compared to a Crunchie bar as "they crunch through things and they're bigger than they look". In contrast, Ince & Co is a Mars Fun Size because it is "not too demanding but big enough to have fun".
BLP's Hotel Chocolat comparison was made on the basis of the firm being "top of the range, twist on the traditional, creative and all about the visual".
Brecher was down as Rococo Chocolates for being "exclusive, independent, quite quirky and self-owned" and Holman Fenwick Willan was Green & Black's due to its "consistently top quality across a variety of flavours".
Sophie Bowkett has been abandoning her lovely Covent Garden base in recent mornings, apparently preferring to breakfast with her broadcast chums. In the last three weeks she has accompanied clients for a variety of performances on Sky News, BBC and Reuters TV on a range of topics as diverse as Oligarch litigation, women in boardrooms and banking regulation. We miss you Sophie! We can serve croissants in the office if this makes a difference. Don't desert us!
"After a 4am start last Friday for the Today programme, I can promise you there's no danger you'll lose me to a job in broadcasting!" she reassures.