If and when the show trial of Michael Jackson takes place Stateside, one thing will be guaranteed – maximum media coverage.
This side of the Atlantic has also seen its fair share of high-profile trials, with that of Ian Huntley just one recent example of a case taking up vast column inches in the UK press.
The legal industry is rarely out of the media, but what happens when you turn this arrangement on its head and the lawyers are reading the news, not just making it? The most obvious characteristic of this audience is their wealth. A reader survey by Legal Business, a monthly title aimed solely at partners of law firms, found one-fifth of its readers earned in excess of half a million each year and 22% owned their properties outright.
Salaries will vary depending on job type, which ranges from high street solicitor to High Court judge, but even the lowliest of lawyers tends to be at the high end of the ABC1 bracket.
Sarah White, who is client manager at Carat Business, says: “Lawyers are classed as affluent ABs often with high disposable income.”
The stereotype of the male City lawyer is disappearing however, according to Mark Wyatt, publisher of Legal Week. “Now, more than half (55%) of people entering the legal profession are women,” he says.
But with 47 different practice areas within the legal profession, how can a brand hope to tap into this wealthy sector?
The first place to start is with the three trade weeklies covering the legal profession. The Law Society Gazetteis the highest circulating, with 102,000 copies each week and most of its readers being subscribers. The official organ of the Law Society, its primary market is solicitors, but it covers the entire legal profession.
“Almost every practising solicitor receives it and the audience is almost solely band A,” ad ds group ad manager Peter Garner.
“It’s not a light read. People are reading it to be informed about their business and the changes that could affect them. It’s not a gentlemen’s entertainment title to be read in their free time at the end of the day.”
Advertising reflects this, tending to be highend, serious campaigns. Around 20% of ads in the title are display ads, including software and financial advertisers hoping to attract some of the wealthiest people in Britain.
Catrin Griffiths, editor of Centaur Communications’ The Lawyer,said: “We run news and features and have a broader and deeper relationship with the industry.”
Legal Business is distributed monthly via paid-for subscription to partners in law firms. It is published by Legalease, which also houses the Legal 500, an annual book that ranks lawyers from across 65 countries.
Tom Freeman, editor of Legal Business, said: “We are seen as the voice of authority. We are more highbrow and deal more with strategy than the weeklies.”
Niche journals The Legal BusinessAwards have just secured Bentley motors as sponsor for this year’s event, the first time such a high-profile advertiser has come aboard.
Most titles in this market tend to have an international focus, the legal industry now spreading beyond national borders.
There are also a number of niche legal journals and magazines which deal with specific sectors of law, for example litigation, family and personal injury.
Lawyers will also keep up to date with the press related to their specific sector. So, for example, a personal injury lawyer will read the insurance press, such as Insurance Timesand The Post, and a property lawyer would read Estates Gazetteand Property Week.
The national press is also a place to catch up with this lucrative sector. Most newspapers have their own legal section, with The Times’ Tuesday Lawsupplement regarded as the best.
Legal Business’reader survey found that The Sunday Timeswas the paper its audience was most likely to read every issue, followed by The Timesand The Financial Times.
The Economistwas read by a number of its readers, but they were less interested in international titles like the Wall Street Journal.
And as legal professionals gain more exposure, market research like this will be of even more interest to the advertising community.