As Precedent marks its 15-year anniversary, I find myself reflecting on how it all began and where we are today. Has the magazine held true to its values? Do we have the same passion that ignited the idea in the first place? Have we made good on our promise to both celebrate lawyers and examine the profession with a critical eye? Does the print magazine continue to delight readers?
Anyone who’s started a business will know how I feel. Though it’s a massive challenge to get a new idea off the ground, it can be even more difficult to make sure the business innovates over time. If you lose touch with the original vision, an idea that was once revolutionary can become stale and outdated.
Luckily, the relentless pace of disruption within the media industry hasn’t afforded me a moment to rest. Indeed, keeping a print magazine alive in 2022 is revolutionary in and of itself.
What are we up against? On a literal level, supply-chain issues have left us scrambling — and paying a lot more — for the actual paper on which we print the magazine. Meanwhile, over the last decade, our advertising business model has been upended. In the past, companies only had a few places to run ads: radio, television and print publications. Today, much of that spending has been diverted to tech giants like Google and Facebook, which sell billions of dollars in hyper-targeted ad spaces each year. To compete in this environment, we’ve had to improve our digital ad offerings and also remind our customers of print’s unique value. (Shout-out to all the print advertisers in this issue!) Facing so much turbulence, we haven’t had the luxury to get lazy or complacent.
I spend a lot of time in both the media and legal worlds. And it is interesting to compare the two. While I wish that the media industry was evolving at a slightly slower speed, I am grateful for the push it gives me to come up with new ways to meet our clients’ needs and maintain the highest standard of journalism. Law, however, faces almost no outside competition, so there’s little incentive to innovate. Yes, law firms have adjusted to new technology and expanded the availability of fixed fees, but the profession looks a lot like it did 15 years ago. The pressure to constantly innovate results in better, stronger and more creative businesses. Law should not look the same as it did when I started Precedent.
Thankfully, there are lawyers exploring new ideas. In this very issue, you’ll meet the winners of the Precedent Innovation Awards. These lawyers have, in the absence of significant competitive pressure, taken it upon themselves to improve the profession. They’ve made law more efficient, affordable and accessible. Congratulations to this year’s winners.
Although being forced to innovate comes with many challenges, running Precedent has never been boring. Thank you to everyone who has helped the magazine reach this milestone: our readers, our advertisers, our supporters. It is with your help that Precedent is alive and well today.
A tradition continued
Although Precedent has had to adapt over the years, the magazine remains deeply committed to one of our proudest traditions: celebrating the next generation of legal talent. To that end, we’re now accepting nominations for our annual Precedent Setter Awards, which recognize Toronto lawyers in their first 10 years of practice who excel at work and contribute to the broader community. If you know a junior lawyer who deserves a moment in the spotlight, let us know.
To submit a nomination package, visit precedentmagazine.com/awards. Nominations close December 7, 2022. We’ll announce the winners in the spring of 2023.
This story is from our Fall Issue.
Photo by Nick Wong.