In Memoriam: J. Edward Pawlick

J. Edward Pawlick, founder of the Lawyers Weekly group of legal newspapers, has died. He was 80. The Weston Town Crier has his obituary.

A lawyer, Pawlick founded Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly in 1972, working at first from his home. Over the years, he expanded with Lawyers Weekly newspapers in other states. In 1994, he launched a national newspaper, Lawyers Weekly USA (now Lawyers USA). In 1997, he sold the company to his daughter Susan Hall, who later sold it to Dolan Media. Pawlick went on to create a Massachusetts news Web site, no longer operating, that was controversial for its strong stance against gay marriage and against the Supreme Judicial Court justices who voted in favor of it.

I worked for Pawlick from 1987 to 1994, first as editor-in-chief of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly and then as founding editor of Lawyers Weekly USA. Although he and I never saw eye-to-eye politically, I always had great respect for him as a newspaperman. He saw a need among lawyers for a different kind of news than they were getting elsewhere and he knew precisely how to fill that need. He emphasized need-to-know stories tied directly to the practice and business of law. And he pushed for those stories to be written and arranged in a style that would allow busy lawyers quickly to grasp their significance.

In Massachusetts, Pawlick’s legacy was to forever change the legal landscape. The paper he founded is as much a part of this state’s legal culture as are the courts and the bar associations. Ironically, he was never widely known here during his years running Lawyers Weekly, preferring to let the paper’s editors and staff be its public face. But for those of us who worked there, we felt Pawlick’s influence every day.