Lanett lawyer named editor of legal magazine

Published 4:57 pm Wednesday, January 23, 2019

LANETT — A Lanett lawyer has been appointed as the editor of The Alabama Lawyer Magazine, a legal magazine that reaches thousands in the legal profession worldwide.

The Alabama State Bar Association appointed Greg Ward, a Lanett attorney and chairman of the Chambers County Republican Party, as the sixth editor in the magazine’s history on Monday. The magazine has been in circulation since 1939.

“I think it is just about the highest appointed office in the Alabama State Bar,” Ward said Wednesday.

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The former editor Greg Hawley, an attorney from Birmingham, resigned in January after the magazine’s latest issue. While looking for the next editor, Ward said he was approached by current president Sam Irby, along with about a half-dozen other lawyers to fill the position.

Before an appointment could be made, Ward said he had to appear before the executive council of the bar association, which includes the past president of the bar, the current president, the future president and executive director, as well as several other appointed members.

Ward said he got unanimous approval from the group and was appointed by Irby.

He said he’s been on the editorial board of the Alabama Bar off and on since the 1980s, and he’s published several articles in the magazine, even winning a short story contest and a legal contest in 1984. He said he’s the only person to win both awards in the same year.

As editor, Ward’s job is to recruit, edit and publish all the articles in the magazine, as well as work in concert with the magazine’s Director of Publications Margaret Murphy.

There’s an editorial board, which assigns the articles to writers, and then Ward reviews and approves the articles. He said content does not get published without his approval.

The magazine goes out to more than 18,000 lawyers and several law libraries worldwide, Ward said.

“It is meant for lawyers to teach the law to lawyers,” Ward said. “That is what it’s designed for.”

He said most of the articles are about law experts in a particular area of law, who can explain to lawyers who don’t practice in said area what the law is. For example, he said there’s an article in the January edition that talks about a recent case that may have changed the interpretation of the law, and it explains what’s new. The publication also features lawyers and judges throughout Alabama.

Ward said his vision for the magazine as editor is a simple one.

“I want it to be more of a ‘nuts and bolts’ type magazine,” he said. “Something that explains things is a simple and clear way to the average practitioner in Alabama.”

The editor position is a volunteer one so his general legal practice in Lanett will stay open. He said there has never been a small-town lawyer as the editor of the magazine, citing that most come from Montgomery or Birmingham.

“I am extremely proud to know that the president of the Alabama Bar Association acknowledges that you don’t have to live in one of the big towns to know what you are doing,” Ward said.