Continuing Education

A look back on the last 10 years and making the shift from student to young professional
A look back on the last 10 years and making the shift from student to young professional

My 10-year law school reunion is coming up this fall. Although the time has passed in a flash, law school seems like a lifetime ago. I graduated before 9/11, before the global economic crisis, before Obama — even before there was Facebook. I used Google for the first time in my law school library. I didn’t have a cellphone, or a laptop. It’s only been a decade, but looking back, I’m feeling like a dinosaur.

Yet, the law school experience hasn’t changed that much. And graduating with a J.D. (or LL.B. as it was in my day) still brings the same challenges.

Precedent’s new online editor, Katherine Low, summed it up quite nicely for me. The way she sees it, after finishing law school and starting a new career, change happens at warp speed. “It’s like you become an adult in one year.”

It’s true. The shift from essay-writing, beer-guzzling student to suit-wearing, incomeearning professional can be a shocker. It was for me.

Before articling on Bay Street, I had never seen the view from the 61st floor of an office tower. I’d never had a meal cooked by Jamie Kennedy. And I didn’t know any lawyers. Sure, I knew how to properly cite cases, how to evaluate a complex decision and the meaning of a golden parachute. But I had no idea what to wear.

Precedent was born out of this lack of preparedness. I wanted to create a magazine for 26-year-old-Melissa and the many law students that have walked through Bay Street’s doors since, on making the shift from student to young professional. Sure, the magazine would be about law, but it would also be about the lifestyle of being a lawyer.

This year’s student supplement lays out 59 things every lawyer should know. It helps lawyers and law students alike get up to speed on all kinds of things — from where to buy a suit, to how to eat foods you’ve never heard of, to where to find a date. And on page 49 you’ll find lawyers Laura Baron and Jonathan Davey modelling the latest fashions for a weekend getaway, dinner with friends and after-work drinks. These things might sound trivial, but in the lightning-fast transition from student to professional, it matters.

Enjoy our biggest issue of Precedent. No matter how many years it’s been since your call, I expect you’ll learn a few things. And to my fellow U of T classmates — I’ll see you in October.

Melissa Kluger, Publisher & Editor /

Photography by Daniel Ehrenworth