Editor's Note

Hey Superstar

By Melissa Kluger

On Wednesday May 20th, 2009


We don’t call this magazine “Precedent” for nothing. When coming up with the magazine’s name, we wanted our readers to know from the outset that we were trendsetters. We try to live up to the name by telling interesting stories that no one else is telling — stories about issues we face as a profession, and cutting-edge areas of law. Any success we’ve had in this regard we owe to the lawyers we’ve profiled who have made waves in our community.

 Our profession is richer because of our colleagues who stand out, take risks, and work tirelessly for what they believe in. This issue features several stories about these leading lawyers.

One example of a truly stellar lawyer is unfortunately told through an obituary. It was with great regret that I learned about the passing of a true precedent-setter in our community who I never had the opportunity to know: Alison Youngman. The Stikeman Elliott LLP senior partner was a champion of women’s issues and a leader in technology law. As you will read (“Alison Youngman” p 14), she was truly ahead of her time and had a significant impact on her firm, her profession, and her community.

Our feature piece focuses on the stories of other legal stars. In “The honeymoon is over” (p 22) you’ll meet lawyers from a variety of practice areas who’ve been working to advance the rights of gays and lesbians in Canada. Some helped set the precedent that led to the legalization of gay marriage in this country, and others are working to resolve outstanding issues of equality, such as the right of gay men to donate blood or sperm.

In our “Best Practices” profile, you’ll meet a husband and wife team who left the comfort of an established Toronto firm to start their own practice. Their “mom-and-pop” law shop allows them to deliver high-quality legal services at lower rates, but it also lets them structure their schedule to include amazing family getaways. They are risk-takers — just the sort of lawyers we’re looking for.

Despite all the doom and gloom of our current economic period, there are incredible opportunities for a new crop of risk-takers. For some, risk-taking will come in the form of starting a new firm. For others, it will involve anticipating new legal trends and developing a niche in an up-and-coming area. It may also involve leaving the traditional practice of law to start a business or go back to school.

I expect we will see many new developments in the profession this year. With clients facing tough times, the billable hour will be scrutinized and the traditional firm model will likely be re-evaluated. We’ll be on the lookout for more efficient and clever ways to run our practices and serve our clients. There are all kinds of precedents about to be set. We’ll be watching for them.

A new precedent is being set right here in the pages of the magazine itself. We’ve undergone a bit of a makeover thanks to our new designers at Underline Studio. We’ve updated our fonts and changed the design of some of our pages. It’s still the same magazine, only better.

NEXT ISSUE: Fall is back-to-school season, and with it comes the Precedent Student Supplement. Bigger and better than ever.




Melissa Kluger
Publisher & Editor