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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Founder of Lawyers Weekly chain dies at 80

Veteran legal journalist and blogger Bob Ambrogi reports on his well-regarded LawSites blog that J. Edward Pawlick, the founder of the Lawyers Weekly chain of legal newspapers, has passed away at the age of 80. (See "In Memoriam: J. Edward Pawlick." on the LawSites blog.)

Bob does an excellent job summarizing the many contributions that Mr. Pawlick made to the legal publishing field. It was Mr. Pawlick who gave me my start as a legal journalist at his flagship legal newspaper, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. (Ironically, I left the paper to work for Minnesota Lawyer's parent company Dolan Media, which in turn bought the Lawyers Weekly chain in 2004.)

While our Minnesota readers probably have never heard of Mr. Pawlick, you have certainly gotten to know some of the extraordinarily innovative features and ideas developed over the years at his chain of papers. I unabashedly admit that I borrowed some of my favorite ones and incorporated them directly into Minnesota Lawyer. For example, our popular "Bar Buzz" feature was modeled on a similarly popular column called "Hearsay" that originated at Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. Mr. Pawlick's company was also at the forefront of providing legal information on the Internet, developing an award-winning website at a time when the Internet was still something of a novelty for many people.

Having started with a single newsletter that he banged out on a typewriter in his kitchen in 1972, Mr. Pawlick grew his "empire" into seven well-respected legal newspapers, including a national one, now called Lawyers USA. He also raised four children mostly as a single parent, including two very nice daughters who at various points worked at the company. When he retired, he sold the company to his daughter Susan, who was a classmate of mine at Boston College Law School. It was Susan who ultimately sold the company to Dolan Media, our parent company.

Mr. Pawlick in his later years started a controversial political website and authored a couple of books staking out some highly controversial positions. While he contributed far more to legal publishing than to meaningful political discourse, I have no doubt of his sincerity and passion in espousing his views.

Other than that, I really don't have much to add to the classy piece Bob put together, which I suggest you all read. (You can also check out Mr. Pawlick's obit by clicking here.) Mr. Pawlick was a unique individual whose life impacted many. Without him, I can say with utter certainty that neither Minnesota Lawyer newspaper nor this blog would exist in their current format.

Requiscat in pace.

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