There have been rumours flying round since the start of the week as to why long-time Law Society Gazette editor Jonathan Ames – he actually joined the mag as a reporter in the early 1990s – has departed. A less than forthcoming statement from a Law Society spokesperson says “With its new focus on supporting solicitors following the establishment of the Solicitors Regulation Authority and Legal Complaints Service, the Law Society is changing fundamentally and the Gazette will be changing too. The Chief Executive, in consultation with senior colleagues, has taken the decision that repositioning the Gazette as a more effective means of member engagement that projects and protects the core values of the profession requires a fresh perspective. The editor, Jonathan Ames, has left the employment of the Society.”
Marcel Berlin's legal column in the Guardian newspaper gave the departure the following spin… “The Gazette… is the house magazine for the solicitors profession but the Gazette has distinguished itself by daring to be critical of its boss, the Society. Perhaps no more. It's whispered that the newish regime at the Law Society wants a journal that toes the line. The almost incomprehensible statement by a spokesman says that 'repositioning the Gazette as a more effective means of member engagement that projects and protects the core values of the profession requires a fresh perspective' which, I think, means boring and slavishly uncritical.”
A more charitable explanation could be that as the Law Society has effectively been split into three separate organisations, it now needs a more modest publication merely to notify members of Society news and membership services.