The Lawyer is moving behind a paywall.

Following in the footsteps of Legal Week and the Murdoch papers (footsteps recently reversed at The Sun following less than stellar subscriber take-up), the publication is moving a "substantial amount" of its internet content behind a "partial paywall". In an email to law firm PRs seen by RollOnFriday, The Lawyer editorial team writes that a large chunk of its website will "now be 'premium' content, available only to subscribers". Which is fine if your firm pays for your sub, but not so much if it doesn't.

It means, says The Lawyer, that non-subscribers will miss out on content including "in-house interviews" and "many lateral hires". So start campaigning now for your managing partner to pay up, or go without the latest on the GC of Widget Inc's favourite band and John Nomark's sensational move from Knuck Fows LLP to Meh, Meh & Mehhhh.

    Distressed readers: how it might look

In a bizarre additional note, The Lawyer also exhorts PRs not to do their jobs, under the heading, "Nitpick of the month".

"Recently", explains The Lawyer, "it seems that there's been an increase in the number of times we'll leave a message for a partner and almost immediately have a call back from the press office - and that doesn't help our relationship with you". Mortified. Go on. "Generally, if we're calling a partner, it’s because we want to have an off the record chat about the market or just catch up; in other words, you probably can’t help". Quite right. Let the adults talk.

It is an inspired attempt to circumvent the PRs and their firms' media policy. The only flaw being that it relies on everyone involved in the decision to email the partnership, "Don't bother us if The Lawyer calls, just chat to them freely I'm sure it will be fine", having a slightly lower IQ than a stone.

In other news, RollOnFriday couldn't erect a paywall even if it wanted to because the website currently runs on diesel.


Anonymous 24 March 16 17:07

anon @14:50

As recruiter and former journo, can confirm extreme plebeian status and tendency to feel special for weeks after merely touching hallowed hem of partners' robes.

Anonymous 30 March 16 18:34

I currently read the lawyer web site every working day. I can honestly say I won't ever read it again once I have to pay for it.


Anonymous 30 March 16 21:23

Ridiculous decision. With all the advertising on their site you would think they make enough money to keep the website free. I for one certainly shall not be paying for it. I can't live without the content.

Anonymous 29 March 16 07:36

Paywall is bad news for The Lawyer, for PRs and for lawyers in commercial firms generally. The Lawyer derives its influence from reaching a significantly larger audience than its competitors. Take that away and it is irrelevant (see the recently flogged Legal Week - if you can remember where to find it - as an example). The PR people who in turn derive what influence they have from the legal press will also be diminished. And without an influential legal press to hold law firms to account, expect more emboldened behaviour from law firm management teams who no longer need to worry about any meaningful publicity when they have hard decisions to make.

Anonymous 24 March 16 14:50

That is quite a aunty nitpick. I’m sure it makes you feel special to speak to Partners and no doubt some of them are looselipped enough to let slip some firm gossip they shouldn’t – that is why firms pay PR managers to filter you. The same goes for recruitment consultants. You’re not worth a Partner’s hourly rate to speak with. Let the Partners make money for the firm – that’s their raison d’etre

Anonymous 24 March 16 15:09

The Lawyer journos are the most high-and-mighty under the small umbrella that is the legal press and, given that at my firm at least it's a joint second in terms of popularity out of the three mags, it's surprising they get a call back at all.

Anonymous 24 March 16 10:21

My rewrite of that nitpick from this side of the fence would be:

Nitpick of the month

We like working with you but the legal press isn't always our highest priority when we're also dealing with mainstream business media, trade press and internal communications. Recently there’s been an increase in the number of times you’ll leave a vague message for a partner asking for a call back. Partners are busy and often don't have time for an ad hoc catch-up, whether on or off the record. Neither can they judge if they are the best person for you to talk to on a specific issue without knowing what you want to discuss, especially if they've rarely spoken to you. So they ask us, their PR teams, to clarify what you want, by when and why. We know you are under huge time pressure and working to tight deadlines, so we call you back as quickly as we can to see if we can help. So if you get a call back from someone in the PR team, please consider the quality of your relationship with the partner you were hoping to talk to, the nature of the topic you wanted to discuss and whether you provided any detail in your message. Generally, if we call you back it's because the partner doesn't have time for a catch-up, doesn't know what you want to discuss or simply doesn't know who you are. In other words, we're your only chance of help.

Anonymous 24 March 16 10:26

I thought the RoF website ran on hamster power? What's this new-fangled diesel thingummyjig?