Five years on // Editor's Note

Looking back on Precedent's inception and the impending recession

By Melissa Kluger

On Thursday October 11th, 2012

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We totally called the recession. It was 2007. The market was going like gangbusters. Canadian lawyers were being snapped up by international recruiters to practice in London, New York and Dubai. There simply weren’t enough lawyers to keep up with the demand of the massive and multiple deals on the go. It seemed like a good time to launch a lifestyle magazine for the industry.

The first issue of Precedent landed on the desks of 20,000 lawyers in the fall of 2007 with a headline reading: “Recession Proof: How smart associates are planning for a market downturn.” The cover featured corporate lawyer Karen Park in front of a drawing of the market on a downward trajectory. The story inside looked at the future of the high-flying M&A industry and quoted Osler partner Doug Bryce as saying: “A month or so ago we were at a rather extraordinary peak and it was becoming fairly obvious that the market was pretty frothy.” He goes on to foreshadow: “You don’t have quite that insane froth that was in the market a month or two ago.”

Needless to say, the past five years have been quite a ride for the economy and the legal profession. Many lawyers who were once wooed over borders have come home to the relative stability of Ontario. Here at Precedent, we’ve made a few magazines (21 to be exact), featuring advice, fashion and profiles, as well as stories that pushed the envelope on issues in the legal community.

We’ve called on the profession to collect real data on the number of women leaving private practice, questioned the high barriers for entry that foreign-trained lawyers (even Canadian born) face when seeking to practice in our province and pushed for the Ontario government to bring our justice system online. For some of these issues we have already seen change; on others we are still waiting.

We still want to see more change. And so, for this five-year anniversary issue of Precedent, we called in the big guns: we asked outstanding members of our profession to tackle pressing issues we face in law today. They covered everything from civility to diversity and they didn’t pull their punches.

These writers worked under tough conditions (tight deadlines and even tighter word counts) to deliver amazing ideas about the future of our industry. I hope that when we look back on these ideas five years from now, we’ll be able to say we made some more good calls.

Sincerely,

Melissa Kluger

 


Where is she now?

Want to know what Precedent’s first cover model is up to five years later? We caught up with Karen Park in New York City and her update didn’t disappoint! When we wrote about her in 2007 she had just left Blakes in Toronto to take a job at Shearman & Sterling in New York, where her work focused on mergers and acquisitions in the context of bankruptcy. She was admitted to the State bar, “Studying for which is an experience I never want to repeat,” she says. She is now working at Schulte Roth & Zabel. “I help private equity firms and hedge funds invest in and turn around distressed companies.” This fall Karen begins her executive MBA at Columbia Business School.

Recession proof, indeed.