As any Linklaters or Herbert Smith partner will affirm, it’s an uncertain world out there.
Of course, everyone working in the media could have told you that a decade ago. It doesn’t take a high-paid analyst to tell you that reading habits have changed; our industry has been transformed – and in some quarters destroyed – by the web, as many now consume the news online.
So the copy of The Lawyer you’re holding in your hands this week will be a collector’s issue, because in the New Year it will be very different. The print edition will be devoted to analysis, comment and data, whether of the market or technical developments. (It doesn’t mean we’re going to start being po-faced – we’re not sacking Tulkinghorn.) Such is the welter of information pouring into every lawyer’s BlackBerry, the challenge for us is to be a filtering device as well as to continue sniffing out stories.
As a matter of policy we’ll now be breaking stories on the web rather than saving them for print. TheLawyer.com has 250,000 unique users, while Lawyer News Daily, our comment email on the day’s events, has more than 66,000 subscribers. And as the Linklaters restructure story proved last week, our readers love to join in the debate online.
Moving away from a news front to a picture-led cover has allowed us to rethink completely the content within. As you’ll see from our first issue in January, The Lawyer print edition will not be operating on a reactive agenda. Given the comprehensive research-based journalism showcased in The Lawyer UK 200, the Transatlantic Elite, In-house Thought Leaders and the European 100, lengthier, contextual writing is something we’ll be embracing wholeheartedly. In fact, it’s been a source of considerable frustration to journalists on The Lawyer that up till now there’s never quite been enough features space devoted to that analysis.
Print works best when it’s beautiful. We’ve brought in former Guardian designer Simon Esterson for the redesign, so expect to see handsome use of photography and infographics. And there’ll be a sharper focus on clients, on the post-LSA business of running private practice, on litigation and on Asia, to name just four elements. I wish there was space here to tell you more, but make sure you get your copy on 3 January. And happy Christmas.