Ah, election season! It’s that magical time when we Canadians choose the select few who will shape our country’s laws and priorities in the years ahead. Democracy at work.
While I’m an avid advocate of the democratic process, there’s something to be said for the kind of change that occurs without marking any ballots. Beyond elections, change can happen when one person helps another or when someone launches an industry-shifting business. And this issue of Precedent teems with examples of these sorts of changes.
Take the story of Isfahan Merali, a recently elected bencher at the Law Society of Upper Canada. As Merali writes in this issue, she won her seat (as a relatively unknown, but incredibly capable, South Asian public-sector lawyer) thanks to the joint campaign she ran with Janet Leiper — an incumbent bencher who wanted to increase diversity at the Law Society, by doing more than complain. Meanwhile, over at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, a young lawyer convinced her firm to develop an aboriginal banking practice. Don’t know much about aboriginal banking? Neither did anyone else. But as Tiffany Murray’s story shows, it has the potential to provide unprecedented financial independence to aboriginal communities.
And, as you’ll see in our cover story, positive change is showing up all over. Whether it’s private practice getting better for women, law firms thinking twice about firing associates who aren’t partner material or a COO saving money for his firm, there’s a hunger for change that is having a positive impact on our profession.
That said, we still have more change to make, starting with pay equity. Here we are in 2015 and a new study shows that female lawyers still earn less than men. And we’re not talking partners here. We’re talking second-year associates. SECOND YEAR! Want to be outraged? Read our blood-boiling story.
As you consider who to vote for during this lengthy election period (shout out to all the lawyers who are running), also consider how you might make some non-democratic change. Start by championing a colleague or giving a disenfranchised client a stronger voice. The best thing about this sort of change? At the end of the day, everybody wins.
Publisher & Editor
Post Script: Kind of a big deal
I’m thrilled to let you know that we took home a boatload of awards over the summer. The Canadian Society of Magazine Editors recognized Precedent as trade magazine of the year (for the third year in a row). We also nabbed three golds at the Canadian Business Media awards, including a win for our news editor, Daniel Fish, for his story on how to make law a well-oiled machine. Plus, we earned a gold for best illustration at the National Magazine Awards.
Thank you to my incredibly talented team for creating such a beautiful, thought-provoking magazine that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the best publications in this country.
More from the fall issue:
This story is from our Fall 2015 issue.
Melissa’s photo by Mckenzie James.