A young Northland journalist has been appointed editor of two of Australasia's top legal magazines.

Langs Beach journalist Hannah Norton, 27, has just stepped into her role as editor for Key Media based in Auckland.

As well as producing the quarterly NZLawyer and bimonthly Australasian Lawyer, she oversees the company's online news.

The busy Norton is also finishing her law degree (LLB) at AUT University and studying part-time, having joined Key Media earlier this year as a journalist.


She spent more than two years working the news beat in Whangarei, first as editor of the Whangarei Report and then as reporter with the Northern Advocate, both at Northern Publishing headquarters on Robert St.

She said like most editors, time management was key with online and print deadlines to meet.

"There can also be some complex legal jargon and concepts to navigate too, but it makes it more exciting and is relevant to my study.

"It is certainly different from covering general news, but it's an area of journalism I find particularly interesting.

"I love doing stories around the corporate law space, looking at areas such as capital markets and multi-million and billion dollar mergers and acquisitions.

"Each time you hear of one significant company buying another, there's a team of lawyers behind the vendors and the purchasers working tirelessly to get the deal over the line. It's also inspiring to deal with New Zealand's top lawyers on day-to-day basis."

Norton said it was a busy time for legal news in New Zealand and Australia.

"There's a lot going on ... and there's a lot of disruption around the business of law. Some of the more in-depth news analyses we are doing at the moment in New Zealand include looking at the effect of Auckland's booming property market on the legal space and what's happening in the insurance law space down in Christchurch. We are also following cases such as the $28 million divorce wrangle between the Claytons, due in the Supreme Court at the start of next month, which could potentially have huge implications in the area of trust law."

Norton said another key issue of law that was of interest to Northlanders was problems around access to justice. "... time and costs involved in taking cases through the courts. A lot of lawyers are keen to address this, but the question is where do you start?

"That ties to the issue around how lawyers should charge for their services, with some people predicting the death of the billable hour. This has the potential of one day making legal services in some areas much more affordable."

Norton has just returned from Sydney where she met some of her new colleagues and contacts in firms across the ditch.

She says she tries to get home as often as she can. "Langs Beach is and will always be home. I try to get there as much as I can, but it can be hard juggling long hours with work and university."

Sadly, the move was too much for her furry friend Bruce, an adorable but detrimentally curious and highly strung griffon, who has remained in Northland with family.

"I miss everything about Northland - the people, the stories and the place as a whole. I'm yet to find a legal story that takes me out to the beach."