New year, a new gig

By Jo Mathis

Legal News

Two fonts walk into a bar and the bartender says, "Get out! We don't serve your type in here."

You'll have to excuse me. As I start my new job as editor of The Washtenaw County Legal News and The Jackson County Legal News, I'm a bit obsessed with typography.

Though I've been a journalist for 30-odd years (and believe me, odd sums up much of that time perfectly), I haven't actually been an editor since I was a 22-year-old newbie in charge of a long defunct weekly near my hometown in Illinois.

I'm thinking once I get a bit more comfortable with the minutia of desktop publishing, this will be a good gig.

After 15 years as a columnist and reporter at The Ann Arbor News, I spent a while freelance writing after the paper closed in 2009. Then Tom Kirvan, former editor of The Saline Reporter, called me about an opening to work for him at The Detroit Legal News.

Though the commute was daunting, I enjoyed working in The D, where I met some impressive legal professionals, and got to appreciate that gritty city and its hidden jewels.

But 43 miles is 43 miles. So when Frank Weir decided to retire, I decided this would be a perfect fit. I live here. I already know a lot of people from my previous job. And it would give me a chance to learn some new things.

Newspapers may be dying - I've attended the funerals of two - but The Detroit Legal News and its family of county papers are doing well in a niche market.

Frank Weir's done a great job scouting the county for stories about legal professionals, and taking pictures at key events.

Though I'm at least 38 percent less gregarious than Frank, I'm eager to meet all you legal types (there's that word again) and help spread the good news about what you're up to.

This is a niche paper geared to law professionals, so it's all about you.

We're interested in feature ideas, profiles, Q and As with experts on a timely subject, photo ops. So please send ideas to

CNN's Beth Karas recently wrote:

"Lawyers and journalists aren't highly regarded, although they usually rank a notch above lobbyists, members of Congress and used car salespeople in Gallup's annual Honesty and Ethics survey."

Maybe I'm nuts, but with very few exceptions, I happen to have a high regard for both journalists and lawyers. Happy New Year to us all.

Published: Thu, Jan 5, 2012