Where are the specialized law journalists in Canada? Can you name one? The media has left a gaping hole, leaving lawyers to fill the vacuum, to editorialize on the new cases, and to defend the legal system.
We can’t complain. This is our duty. However, in a time, where most people can name all Kardashians but can’t name the nine Supreme Court of Canada judges, we have a problem.
Paul Wells writes in In Search of the Ethical Lawyer: Stories from the Canadian Legal Profession, edited by Adam Dodek and Alice Woolley, that it’s not wickedness that has brought an end to deep news coverage.
It’s Craigslist. News organizations’ traditional revenue base has collapsed. Social media have replaced the paid classified ads… Almost every big news organization has a fraction of the reporters that it once fielded. Keeping a reporter or two at the courthouse, with reinforcements in the main newsroom ready to call in on an hour’s notice, is a luxury that few can afford. When reporters do show up, they are not courtroom regulars. They are novices and generalists, fresh from the city council meeting or the garbage strike… [leaving out] insight into nuance or the incremental evolution of a complex story.
Although I do not have a solution to stopping the slow death of print media, as lawyers, we need to make the law more interesting to the public.
By continuously revealing the human dimension of the law, which is exactly what Adam Dodek and Alice Woolley accomplish in their masterful book In Search of the Ethical Lawyer.