New Zealand Law Society - A disappointing article

A disappointing article

I hope it comes as no surprise that I am disappointed in the article written by Jock Anderson and published in the June 2020 issue of LawTalk.

What was produced amounted to an information dump arrived at by way of personal questions better suited to a medium such as Woman’s Day as opposed to LawTalk.

It has clearly not been edited. It has been supplemented, it appears, by information obtained from Google and it sits very uncomfortably with the editorial standards that you have maintained at LawTalk.

When I questioned Jock as to the relevance of he car I drive and the music I listen to, he indicated that was a Law Society requirement, as was the prohibition of prepublication comment on the completed work.

There is information within the article that is accurate and potentially interesting. There is also information that is inaccurate and irrelevant. What is omitted is the comments made to Jock relating to the importance of people to both my enjoyment of my period in practice and the value that I perceive that I have provided over that period.

I strongly suggest that the formulaic method of interview be abandoned, and future interviews be focused on legal practice and perceptions arising therefrom, not on leisure time pursuits; that a modicum of research be undertaken by the person commissioned to interview and that a draft be provided to the interviewee for comment.

John Swan

Response from New Zealand Law Society Communications Manager Morwenna Grills

Tēnā koe John,

Thank you for your letter and for sharing with me the concerns that you had with your profile in the June edition.

I would like to begin by apologising for you not being allowed to review your profile prior to publication. That is a practice I have already changed and it will not occur again. While that may be an appropriate approach for an external news publication, it is not for LawTalk which is produced by the New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa for the profession.

I am looking at other changes to the profiles, including what questions are relevant and how we can get a balance between relevant personal information and the types of insights into the profession you have suggested.

I am also looking at our capacity to bring these profiles in-house so communications professionals who are immersed in the culture of the Law Society can apply that knowledge to the profiles that are produced.

I really appreciate receiving feedback on our publications as they help shape and guide our content to ensure we provide what our readers and profilers want to hear about. I would like to thank you for taking the time to write this letter and for meeting with me to discuss the matter in person. I hope from our conversations that you are satisfied with the changes already underway.

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