Connect With Us: Peter Nicholson
We could give you a dozen reasons why our next colleague is so wonderful!
It’s week 12 of our ‘Connect With Us’ series and we’re pleased to introduce you to Peter Nicholson.
Peter has more than 40 years’ experience in legal publishing, and is one of our longest serving colleagues having joined us in 2003 as Editor of the Law Society of Scotland’s Journal publication. Learn more about Peter’s unique career and time with us here:
Tell us about your career so far.
In 1981 I was qualifying in law and unsure in which area I wanted to practise. I’ve always had a literary bent, so when the legal publishers Greens advertised for an editor it immediately appealed, and I was chosen for the job. Soon after I started the senior editor left, and I found myself at a young age in charge of respected titles such as the Scots Law Times. I thrived, and as legal publishing entered a boom and our team grew, I became mainly focused on the law reports, including Greens Weekly Digest, of which I was founding editor.
Reorganisation in 2003 left me out of a job, but the Journal post came up soon after and was a natural fit. It’s a different sort of position, though, involving more initiative in planning the magazine, more creative input, and more contact with the legal profession, which I enjoy, as well as collaboration with Connect colleagues, not least our talented design team.
In both positions I have helped to steer my titles from purely paper to join the digital world – life in publishing is very different now from 40 years ago!
What does your day-to-day look like?
It depends on the monthly publishing cycle – a period of planning, commissioning and interviewing as necessary, which evolves (all being well) into tackling a large inbox of copy, plus my own writing. There’s then a busy week up to deadline getting everything finalised, proofed and approved for print, and after that a few more days dealing with the website and digital magazine, extra online articles, launch emails… all as the cycle for the next issue starts to kick in. But the day normally begins with news for Journal online.
In my case it’s all done from home – Connect was already well equipped for that when Covid hit, so it was an easy switch, though it’s good to catch up with the team when I get the chance.
Why do you love your job?
It combines the intellectual challenge of tackling all aspects of the law and issues affecting the legal profession with the satisfaction of providing a service to the profession – I hope with interesting and useful information which, depending on content, may still be referred to many years in the future. I have met many interesting and prominent people along the way and I still get a buzz from seeing an issue arrive in print and knowing how I made it happen.
What advice would you give to someone else wanting to follow this career path?
Take as wide an interest as you can in matters inside and outside the law. It pays to understand how a topic fits into the bigger picture – and if you’re in charge of a magazine title, you need to be aware of what people are concerned about as you plan. People tend to assume you know everything – you don’t, but you can come up with intelligent questions or comments, or at least nod and smile appropriately!
Also, read widely, whether news or novels, and train yourself to read critically, including your own writing. I taught myself to edit as my essays always ended up longer than the set word count. You soon learn to spot where more words have been used than are needed.
Best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Always think how your publication will come across to your readership.
‘Connect With Us’ is a series where we invite you to get to know the faces behind Connect a little better. So far, we’ve introduced you to Liam Shaw, Ann Craib, Claire Nichol, Ryan Swinney, David Hughes, Fiona Ramsay, Roisin McGroarty, Craig Gibson, Euan Campbell and Neil Braidwood.
Haven’t caught up with them yet? Click their names and find out more.