To drive social change, we need to get creative // Editor’s Note

Melissa Kluger
An ice cream shop was wreaking havoc in my neighbourhood, so I took action on social media

By Melissa Kluger

On Wednesday September 4th, 2019


A couple of years ago, a new ice cream shop opened in my neighbourhood. The ice cream itself was pretty mediocre, but the company shilling it knew how to craft a cute, colourful, Instagrammable cone. One version was artfully covered in three kinds of cookies; another featured cotton candy in the shape of a clown. These cones served one primary purpose: to look adorable on social media.

Less cute were the sidewalks on Monday morning. After snapping a photo with their perfect looking ice cream, most customers only took a few bites of the dessert before tossing it out. These abandoned treats covered the pavement and the outside of city garbage cans. On my walk to work in the morning, I had to gag through the smell of sour milk.

That’s when I came up with a solution. I would seek justice on Instagram. I took out my phone and started to capture images of the carnage: ice cream-covered garbage cans, pigeons eating toppings that ended up on the ground, trash left all over the street.

Then I posted these photos on Instagram, tagging the company in each one. My goal was to interrupt its photostream of immaculate ice cream cones with pigeons, litter and sticky garbage cans.

And you know what? My campaign worked. Later that summer, the company put out garbage bins that were better than the city cans for ice cream disposal. It put up signs that asked customers to use the garbage bins it provided. The street started to smell better. My shoes weren’t sticky. It was worth the fight.

My battle was small. In the grand scheme of things, stinky ice cream isn’t much of a problem. And yet, it still took time, energy and creativity.

Imagine, then, how much time, energy and creativity is required to drive change on a larger scale. In this issue’s cover story, you’ll meet four lawyers who are doing exactly that. As I was fighting for cleaner sidewalks, they were helping women fleeing abusive relationships, as well as newcomers to Canada who were navigating an unfamiliar legal system. They are amazing. Not only because they are providing legal advice to those who can’t otherwise afford it, but also because they’ve found a way to earn a living at the same time. I wish we lived in a society where everyone had access to a lawyer when they needed one, but, in the meantime, I am inspired by the lawyers who are using determination and creativity to fill the void.

Melissa Kluger signature

Melissa Kluger
Publisher & Editor

Want to know who just landed on Bay Street?

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To get a glimpse of the next generation of legal talent, head over to the Precedent A-List, our online networking site for lawyers. This is where firms have started to announce the most recent additions to their team. And check back often: the site is constantly updated with the latest law firm news and jobs from Toronto and beyond.

More from the Fall Issue

This story is from our Fall 2019 Issue.

Photography by Ian Patterson