Editor’s Note: Lawyers everywhere are starting to view cannabis in a different light

When I step into Assembly Chef’s Hall, I notice some very pretty cards sitting on the bar at Tokyo Smoke. They look like credit cards, but they feature a small crisscross window in the middle, giving them a more interesting, graphic style. They come in different colours: rose gold, silver, gold and iridescent. Basically, all of my favourite colours. I have no idea what they are, but they cost $10 and I really want to buy one.

Naively, I inquire. It’s a grinder card, of course. For grinding tobacco or, more likely, pot, to make it easier to roll into a joint. Tokyo Smoke is more than a trendy coffee shop. It describes itself as an “elevated retail experience” with a “signature collection of smoking accessories.” Right.

Pot, which is set to become legal this October, has never looked so pretty. And that’s the point. Drug paraphernalia is usually relegated to ugly, patchouli-infused shops with brightly coloured bongs in the display window — the destination of slackers and the 4/20 faithful. Not unlike a sex shop, you may well want to buy something they sell, but you sure as hell don’t want anyone to see you go in to buy it. But the rosegold grinder card atop the marble counter of Tokyo Smoke was worlds apart from my preconceived notions of cannabis and its accoutrements. I started to think differently about pot.

And I’m not the only one. Here in Toronto, lawyers have, quite literally, gone to pot. I’ve heard countless stories now of mid-level associates leaving big firms to join cannabis-related start-ups. And, at the same time, most large firms have launched cannabis practice groups. As you’ll read in this issue, this rise in cannabis-related work has led to increased hiring in Big Law. We also asked writer Luc Rinaldi to find out if your next law-firm event will feature weed-infused drinks or a selection of tasty edibles. You can read his story to find out the answer.

I still can’t quite picture exactly how the legalization of cannabis is going to play out, but, as I watch the industry get ready for October, the experience has already been mind-altering.

Melissa Kluger signature

Melissa Kluger
Publisher & Editor

Five out of six ain’t bad


I’m proud to announce that, during this summer’s magazine awards season, Precedent came out a winner. The Canadian Society of Magazine Editors recognized us as the trade magazine of the year — an award that we’ve won five out of the past six years.

Thanks to my talented team for making this magazine so beautiful and thought-provoking, year in year out.

More from the Fall issue:

jeremy-millard Failing Up, Sandi Falconer high hopes by dalbert vilarino GregStephanie-icon Matthew Seymour

This story is from our Fall 2018 Issue.

Photography by Mark Olson Photography, courtesy of Tokyo Smoke

The Circuit: Precedent Setter Awards 2018

Precedent Setter Awards 2018

What: Precedent Setter Awards 2018
Where: The Spoke Club, 600 King St. W.
When: June 20, 2018

Our annual cocktail party to celebrate our Precedent Setter Award winners is always a memorable moment.

This June, more than 100 lawyers and guests gathered at the Spoke Club to honour this year’s winners. The event brought the legal community together to mingle with the six winners, all of whom, in their first 10 years of practice, have emerged as leaders in law.

“Every year, we receive many nominations for the Precedent Setter Awards,” said Precedent’s publisher and editor Melissa Kluger, in her remarks at the event. “We look for lawyers who’ve done outstanding legal work and been active members of their communities. This year’s winners are exceptional examples of just that.”

Congratulations again to all our winners:

Ren Bucholz-icon

Ren Bucholz
Associate, Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP
Read Ren’s profile

Marianne Salih-icon

Marianne Salih
Associate, Edward H. Royle & Partners LLP
Read Marianne’s profile

Daniel Naymark icon

Daniel Naymark
Principal, Naymark Law
Read Daniel’s profile









Atrisha Lewis icon

Atrisha Lewis
Associate, McCarthy Tétrault LLP
Read Atrisha’s profile

Mariam Moktar-icon

Mariam Moktar
Associate, Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP
Read Mariam’s profile

Ron Podolny-icon

Ron Podolny
Partner, Rochon Genova LLP
Read Ron’s profile









We’d also like to thank the sponsors of the 2018 Precedent Setter Awards.

Presenting sponsor
RainMaker Group



Event sponsors:

5ive15ifteen Photo Brattle logo Laurel HillRyerson LPPLawyers Financial Osgoode Professional Development


Event photography by 5ive15ifteen Studio

Winners’ portraits by Kayla Rocca

Editor’s Note: What can our history-minded profession learn from Mary Poppins?

I’ve been stalking Mary Poppins. In preparation for an upcoming trip to Disney World with my daughter, I installed the park’s app on my phone. This magical mobile tool not only tells me the wait time at every ride and the location of the next parade — it also lets me track the Disney characters scattered around the park for photo ops and autographs. My daughter has always liked princesses, so she’s excited to see Cinderella and her friends, but, even if you put every princess in one room, she would pass them up in heartbeat for the chance to meet a certain magical housekeeper travelling via umbrella. All she wants is Mary Poppins. And, as I’ve learned from tracking her whereabouts, Mary Poppins only makes limited appearances.

But I expect that her low-key profile will soon change. In fact, with a sequel starring Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda set to arrive in theatres this Christmas, I think Ms. Poppins is about to blow up. Though I’m already planning to take my daughter to see the movie, I am nervous. I mean, why tamper with a classic? Can Blunt stand up to Julie Andrews? Can Miranda match Dick Van Dyke? In an early interview about the film, Blunt reveals that she never had to learn the words to “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” saying she’ll “leave that to Julie Andrews.” But what would Mary Poppins be without this mouthful of a song?

That said, I get it: wrestling with old traditions in a more modern time is hard. Indeed, the Ontario legal profession faces an old-versus-new struggle of Mary Poppins proportions. In 2017, the Law Society of Ontario cast off its old “Upper Canada” name, in order to be more modern and inclusive.

And now its coat of arms may, too, be on the chopping block. While Mary Poppins is more than 60 years old, the Law Society crest — which depicts Lady Justice, a beaver and, of all things, a shirtless Hercules — dates back 195 years. In our feature story (“A farewell to arms”), Sasha Chapin unpacks the heraldry and history behind the logo and, in the process, raises some important questions. Should we cling to the past and keep the coat of arms? Should we make minor adjustments with a nod to the present day? Or would it be best to toss the whole thing out and come up with something new? In other words, should we still sing “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”?

At this point, what the Law Society will decide is anyone’s guess. It might not be a Christmas blockbuster, but I’m on the edge of my seat.




Melissa Kluger
Publisher & Editor

A brief word on Hercules

HerculesLet’s take a moment to talk about Hercules. I was surprised to learn that this bare-chested figure has been a fixture on the Law Society’s logo for 195 years. I was even more surprised after I brushed up on my Greek mythology. I had assumed Hercules was chosen because he represents bravery and strength, but he was also known to make foolish decisions, hold grudges and have fits of brutal rage. And there’s more: he was gluttonous and not particularly bright. I know it can be hard to part with tradition, but do we really want this guy representing our profession? I’d say Hercules has got to go.

More from the Summer issue:

Annamaria Enenajor Best Practices









This story is from our Summer 2018 Issue.

Photo of Mary Poppins courtesy of Disney

Editor’s Note: What lawyer-moms talk about in private

I recently bought a really boring dress: plain, black, falls below the knee. Since I no longer work as a lawyer, it’s the most conservative thing in my wardrobe. I rarely have an occasion to wear it, but I had to buy it. Sure, it’s affordable, comfortable, flattering and machine-washable. But that’s not why I bought it. I bought that dress because I belong to a secret society.

There are more than 9,000 members in a Facebook group called “Law Mamas,” a forum for lawyer-moms to share experiences, ask for advice and support one another. It was here that women started posting about a magical dress from Land’s End that came in every colour and every size and, on top of that, was the perfect uniform for busy lawyers. Not only did women start buying the dress, but they posted pictures of themselves wearing it en route to courtrooms and boardrooms, recitals and PTA meetings (a lot of pictures are bathroom selfies). At last count, the women in the group had collectively purchased more than 1,000 of these dresses. By the time I jumped on the bandwagon, the size and colour selection was limited.

Of course, #thedress is just one of thousands of topics covered in the group. Law Mamas weigh in on everything from politics to play dates. (One mother asked the group, which is largely American, what to do if her child is invited to a play date and she doesn’t know the parents: should she ask if there are guns in the house? To which another wise mother replied, “Always ask about three things: guns, pets and pools.”) But the overarching theme is how hard it is to cut it as both a mom and a lawyer.

It is here, in this private Facebook group, that women share freely. They disclose heartbreaking stories of infertility; hold-back-tears moments of overt sexism from colleagues, clients and judges; and the guilt they feel for having missed a school concert.

These conversations rarely happen out loud. When women in law decide to have kids, it’s a serious struggle to find a balance between parenting and practising. In truth, that’s probably never going to change. But what can change is our profession’s ability to acknowledge and address such difficulties. This issue’s cover story gets that conversation started.

And this conversation isn’t just for moms. It’s for anyone who wants to retain top talent at their legal departments, even once children come into the picture. Bring on the baby talk.




Melissa Kluger
Publisher & Editor

The Hunt Is On

We are now accepting nominations for our annual Precedent Setter Awards. We’re on the lookout for Toronto lawyers who are passionate about their work, dedicated to the community and in their first 10 years of practice. We need you to put forward lawyers who fit that description and deserve a moment in the spotlight.

Visit precedentmagazine.com/awards for more information. Nominations close January 26, 2018. We’ll feature all of the winners in our summer issue.

More from the Winter issue:


Joy Lim





Precedent Magazine winter issue 2017 coverThis story is from our Winter 2017 Issue.

Cover Story: How Precedent began

It’s been 10 years since Melissa Kluger founded the magazine that sits in your hands. But why’d she quit her job as a lawyer to make it?

At root, she spotted a gap in the legal-media landscape. No magazine blended profiles of young, emerging lawyers with reporting on the shortcomings of the profession and stylish lifestyle writing. So that was the plan: to publish journalism that didn’t exist anywhere else.

That would have been hard enough. But six months into the life of the magazine, the financial crisis hit the legal market. Then the internet blew up the print-media business.

But Precedent continues to thrive. In this candid conversation with senior editor Daniel Fish, who joined the magazine four years ago, Kluger reflects on Precedent’s origins, how it’s changed and why she loves it so damn much.



10 Years 2017

Editor Melissa Kluger, pictured here in her office at Precedent’s headquarters

Daniel Fish: You founded Precedent 10 years ago. But let’s go back almost 20 years, when you were a 2L at the University of Toronto. What were your plans at that moment?

Melissa Kluger: I went to law school knowing, in my heart, that I wanted to be a journalist.

DF: You never studied journalism, though. Why is that?

MK: Because of advice that my father, a chemistry professor, gave me. After my undergrad in English and politics, he told me, ‘Don’t go to journalism school — you can learn to write later. Master a subject. If you go to law school, you’ll get to spend three years thinking like a grad student. In the worst-case scenario, when you graduate, you have to work as a lawyer.’ So I went to law school.

DF: Once there, you founded Ultra Vires, the still-popular student newspaper.

MK: Pretty quickly, I noticed there was no outlet for students to share their stories — even though they did cool stuff, like winning competitions and landing social-justice internships. Oh, and they were funny. At the time, tuition was also rising sharply, and voices of dissent didn’t have a platform. I didn’t go to law school to start a newspaper, but once I got there, it was obvious that something was missing. I was, like, Damn it, I have to start a newspaper.

DF: What did you do after law school?

MK: First, I articled at Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP. After that, I spent a few years working for a sole practitioner in media law. Then I spent a summer working with the Canadian general counsel for Yahoo.

DF: Did you hope that media law would scratch your itch for journalism?

MK: That was the idea, but it didn’t work out. Whenever I met journalists, they were facing a lawsuit, so it was one of the lowest moments in their careers. And most of the time, I was working away on legal research or document review, the most tedious parts of litigation. So the work wasn’t creative.

DF: When did you reach the turning point, where you considered not only leaving law but also launching your own magazine?

MK: During those first few years as a lawyer, I started to read the existing crop of legal magazines. None of them spoke to me. On every cover there was an old white man. And, perhaps more importantly, there was nothing in them about how to be a young professional. Something was missing. So I thought, Damn it, I have to start a magazine.

DF: What first steps did you take?

MK: I launched a blog — called lawandstyle.ca — that would help me build a voice and a following. I also quit my job.

DF: What did you do for money?

MK: I worked doc-review contracts, set my own hours and spent the rest of my time planning my magazine.

DF: Talk about that planning stage.

MK: I took a course at Ryerson University, called “So You Want to Start a Magazine?” Then I came up with the name, hired a designer to help build a prototype and came up with the identity of Precedent.

DF: How would you describe the identity at the very beginning?

MK: As a junior lawyer, I always met lawyers who were a few years ahead of me that seemed to know everything. Not only did they know what to do in court, but they also knew what to wear and the hottest restaurants in the city. So that’s what I wanted Precedent to be — that lawyer who had it all figured out.



DF: Having an idea is one thing. But before you could print your first issue, you also needed a business model. Our model has always been the same: to distribute the magazine for free and fund the entire enterprise through advertising. Which meant that you, the publisher and editor-in-chief, needed to start selling ads.

To get a sense of what the legal industry thought of your idea at the time, I spoke to our long-time advertiser, Adam Lepofsky, the founder and president of the recruitment firm RainMaker Group. Here’s what he told me: “No one could understand why associates might want a magazine that reflected their experience. People were really negative about it. They didn’t think anyone would read it.” Were you aware of that cynicism?

MK: It’s probably good that I wasn’t. I was so headstrong that what I was doing was important. And if Adam was one of the skeptics, he certainly didn’t let on. In fact, he bought an ad in that first issue and has advertised in every issue since.

DF: With that in mind, how did advertising sales go for the first issue?

MK: For a new magazine, they went well. Remember, this was mid-2007 and the legal market was hot. Recruiters from around the world, from London to Dubai, wanted to poach lawyers from the Canadian market. They saw Precedent as a way to reach young lawyers looking to make a change. They filled that first issue with ads.

DF: The moment the first issue dropped, though, you had to overcome an onslaught of obstacles. The first one came in the form of some competition from Canadian Lawyer.

MK: That’s right. The same week we launched, they decided to launch Canadian Lawyer Associates. This definitely confused both our readers and advertisers.

DF: What did that feel like?

MK: It was pretty shocking. I remember thinking, I’m about to launch my dream, something I’ve put everything I have into. And it’s this week that Canadian Lawyer, a magazine that has been around for 30 years, comes out with a competing magazine?

DF: The good news, of course, is that you beat them in the market: they only stuck around for five issues. The bad news is, that was hardly your only roadblock. Six months into the magazine’s lifespan, the global economy imploded.

MK: That changed everything. I lost those global recruiters as advertisers. I had also hoped to attract top-tier lifestyle brands, like Rolex and BMW, as advertisers. But the recession hit them, too.

DF: What was your solution?

MK: I relied on connections I’d made over those first two issues. For the most part, that meant turning to local legal suppliers who had weathered the recession, as well as law firms I had built relationships with.

DF: Now for the third shitstorm. As the economy cratered, so did the print-journalism industry. Over the past decade, traditional advertisers have taken the money they once gave to media and shifted it to tech giants, like Facebook and Google.

MK: But I had an advantage over traditional media. I hadn’t been making a print newspaper for 100 years. I launched this magazine with a website. I had a blog before people had blogs.

And, over the years, the biggest changes to our business model have been digital. Seven years ago, we launched the A-List, a website for legal jobs and career announcements. And last year, we built PrecedentJD.com, a website exclusively for Canadian law students. So we’ve been able to roll with it.



DF: Editors have power. As the editor of Precedent, you get to give coverage to subjects and lawyers of your choice.

At the country’s largest newspapers, such decisions are motivated, in part, by ideology. Broadly speaking, the Star is on the left, the Globe is in the centre and the Post is on the right. Did you want your magazine to be political in the same way?

Editorial assistant Stephanie Philp working through editorial revisions

MK: I wanted all lawyers to read the magazine and feel like it was for them. I have issues I care about, like the advancement of women and racialized lawyers in the profession. You might call that political, but it seems like diversity is something everybody should want.

DF: Let’s talk about diversity. Most media sources are full of men. A study from last year showed that, across Canadian newspapers and broadcasts, women represent 29 percent of all those quoted or interviewed. To see how we measured up, I went through our past year’s issues and women came in at 46 percent (54 out of 117). As the senior editor of those issues, I can say that, in all honesty, attaining gender parity wasn’t that hard.

MK: It’s not like this is an affirmative-action project. The profession is diverse and we reflect that.

DF: One big thing that has changed at Precedent is its mandate. When I joined the magazine, four years ago, this was no longer a magazine exclusively for young lawyers. Why did you make that change?

MK: I worried that once lawyers made partner, they’d put down the magazine and say, ‘That’s it! I’m done with Precedent.’ I didn’t want that to happen. I still want the magazine to skew young. It should promote emerging lawyers who wouldn’t have a place in other magazines, but the stories should appeal to everyone.


DF: I want to give readers a window into what it takes to make this magazine. To do that, I’d like to get meta for a minute. Where are we sitting right now?

MK: Well, we’re in the boardroom at our headquarters, a brick-and-beam office at Front and Parliament, which I absolutely love.

DF: This is an important room. It’s here that, at the outset of every issue, we have our editorial meetings and work through our story ideas.

MK: This is where it all happens. How about you walk us through what happens next?

10 years 2017

Marketing manager Lauren Parrott

DF: Sure! After we finalize our story list, we decide who will write each one. Even though we’re a small team — there’s the two of us, an online editor for our student website, an editorial assistant and a marketing manager — we write close to 50 percent of each issue in-house. We assign the rest to freelance writers and lawyer-columnists.

MK: Since you often write our feature stories, can you talk about what goes into that?

DF: I interview at least a dozen people, for perhaps an hour each, then transcribe those interviews and shape them into a narrative.

MK: How long would you say that takes?

DF: It’s hard to pinpoint an exact number, but maybe 70 hours. Then, when each story is complete, it goes through a rigorous editing process, which includes feedback from the editorial team, and then rewrites. Once stories are in perfect shape, we send them to a professional fact-checker.

MK: And fact-checkers don’t just confirm names and dates by searching the internet. They call everyone who is quoted in the story to confirm every single quote. All of this work takes time and energy, but it’s worth it.



DF: Above all, what do you want lawyers to know about Precedent?

MK: Two things. First, we’re independent. This magazine was started by me! We aren’t owned by a large corporation, and we aren’t the mouthpiece for an industry organization. This is a magazine for lawyers first.

Our main priority is to deliver amazing content to our readers. We invest heavily in beautiful art and engaging editorial content to make a magazine that lawyers want to spend time with. I didn’t quit my law job to start a trade publication that lawyers would flip through at their desk and promptly recycle.

DF: And the second thing?

Melissa Kluger and senior editor Daniel Fish, in the Precedent boardroom

Melissa Kluger and senior editor Daniel Fish, in the Precedent boardroom

MK: That we care about and believe in the legal profession. When I started Precedent, a lot of lawyers told me they were jealous. Not because they wanted to start a magazine, but because I had found my passion and was pursuing it.

A lot of lawyers fall into law and aren’t totally happy with their careers. You often hear about long hours, demanding clients, struggles with work-life balance.

But lawyers should remember that their jobs can be pretty great. For the most part, they do challenging work with smart colleagues on interesting issues.

DF: Yet people often pitch us to write about lawyers who have quit their jobs to do something else.

MK: And we always turn them down. Our goal is to write about lawyers working as lawyers, who represent the profession’s best version of itself. You may know there are one or two bad jokes out there about lawyers.

DF: Oh, I’ve heard a few of those.

MK: In the public eye, lawyers get can a bad rap. But with Precedent, I want to turn that around. When lawyers read Precedent, I want them to feel inspired and proud of their profession.

How to support us

If you like the work we do at Precedent, you can show it in four ways:

1. Get our eNewsletter.  Sign up for the Precedent eBrief to get our stories delivered straight to your inbox.

2. Advertise. Every quarter, we send the magazine for free to 15,000 lawyers in Toronto. And advertisements pay for it all: our staff, our freelance writers, our original art and so much more. If you want to get your message out to the legal community, let us help.

3. Follow us. This is an easy one. To make sure that our journalism reaches far and wide, follow us (and share our stories) on social media. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

4. Pitch your ideas. In every issue, we write about lawyers doing amazing work. So if you know one (maybe it’s you?) get in touch with us! Our senior editor, Daniel Fish, is at daniel@precedentmagazine.com. After all, if you don’t tell us, how else are we going to find out?

Fall 2017 CoverThis story is from our 10th anniversary issue, published in Fall 2017.




Photography by Ian Patterson; Hair and makeup by Michelle Calleja

Editor’s Note: Why I love print, for better or worse

First loves are special. They stay with you. They can shape your life, thrill you and hurt you to your core. And so it was with me and my first love: print.

It was 1981. Mrs. Young’s kindergarten class. I can only remember a few things now: an avocado plant that grew its way around the classroom, my drawing of Ronald Reagan recovering in the hospital after an assassination attempt, and a purple book. The brand- new book, thin and crisp, was part of an early-reader series at a level that no classmate had yet reached. I was first to crack its spine and enjoy that new-book smell. But as I opened the book, full of anticipation, I got a paper cut — the edge of one of its pages slicing deep into the flesh of my five-year-old finger. I loved that book and it hurt like hell. I forgave the book, however, and my love affair with print continued as I grew up. In Grade 6, I volunteered at the school library, mainly to have regular access to new books. From there, I took on every sort of self-publishing: journals, scrapbooks, diaries and photo albums. I also edited school newspapers and yearbooks.

That basically explains how we got here, with you holding my magazine in your hands. Well, for a little more detail, see this issue’s cover story.

Ten years ago, I stood on the factory floor of a printing plant in Pickering, Ont., as the first issue of Precedent literally rolled off the press. From that day forward, I have delighted in finding great stories about lawyers and then choosing the best writers, editors, artists and designers to help me tell it. And when I hold each issue in my hands, I know how much work went into it — every photo carefully selected, every headline cleverly crafted, every comma accounted for. It always thrills me. It’s what I love so much about print.

I also share my love of print with my daughter. As she begins Grade 2, her love of reading has taken off. We visit different libraries around Toronto. We subscribe to children’s magazines. Every morning, we read the newspaper together at breakfast. And she recently asked me, “Mommy, what’s the scoop?,” as she, unprompted, drafted her own newspaper with sports, news and “antertainment” sections.

Am I being naive about print? Hell, yes. Whatever I write about the wonders of print will, inevitably, seem cute and shortsighted as the internet ravages what’s left of the publishing industry. But naïveté has gotten me this far, so I’m going to bask in it. To my advertisers, sponsors, family, friends, advisors, staff and readers: thank you for letting me be that fool who started a print magazine as the internet was booming and the economy was busting. It continues to be a privilege and a pleasure to share my love of print with you.




Melissa Kluger
Publisher & Editor

Post script: Team effort

Photo by 5ive15ifteen Studio

The Precedent staff, from left to right: Daniel Fish, Melissa Kluger, Stephanie Philp, Sissi Wang, Lauren Parrott

It’s been a long time since the first issue of Precedent came out 10 years ago. It wasn’t easy to create a magazine out of thin air or to keep up with the fast-paced changes in the media industry. But we’ve come a long way. Now, a decade later, we compete with the best of the Canadian publishing industry. This year, our senior editor, Daniel Fish, won gold at the National Magazine Awards for his exclusive profile of Michael Bryant. And, much to my surprise, the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors named me Editor of the Year.

I want to thank all the staff and freelancers who have contributed to Precedent over the past 10 years. Your talent, patience, creativity and curiosity have helped us make a fabulous publication. And thank you for loving print magazines as much as I do.

More from the Fall issue:

Opinion illustration

Alex Curry

Paul Jonathan Saguil

Style counsel illustration

tall building





Fall 2017 CoverThis story is from our 10th anniversary issue, published in Fall 2017.




Photo of Melissa by Ian Patterson; Photo of Precedent by 5ive15ifteen Studio

The Circuit: Precedent Setter Awards 2017

Precedent Setter Awards 2017

What: Precedent Setter Awards 2017
Where: The Spoke Club, 600 King St. W.
When: June 13, 2017

No event brings us as much pleasure as our annual celebration of the winners of the Precedent Setter Awards.

More than 120 lawyers and guests came out to the Spoke Club in downtown Toronto to honour this year’s winners. It’s a chance for the legal community in Toronto to congratulate and mingle with all six winners, who, in their first 10 years of practice, are doing cutting-edge legal work and improving the profession.

And this year’s celebration was particularly special, as 2017 marks an important milestone for the magazine: its 10th anniversary. “When I look back on the past decade, I’m most proud of nights like this,” said Precedent’s publisher and editor Melissa Kluger, in her remarks at the event, “when we celebrate law’s true trailblazers, who reflect the diverse fabric of the profession.”

Congratulations again to all our winners:

Konata Lake

Konata Lake
Associate, Torys LLP
Read Konata’s profile

Clara Pham

Clara Pham
Director of Tax, Restaurant Brands International Corporation
Read Clara’s profile

Justin Safeyeni

Justin Safayeni
Associate, Stockwoods LLP
Read Justin’s profile









Shaneka Taylor

Shaneka Taylor
Associate, Boghosian + Allen LLP
Read Shaneka’s profile

Glenford Jameson

Glenford Jameson
Principal, G. S. Jameson & Company
Read Glenford’s profile

Emily Lam

Emily Lam
Partner, Greenwood Lam LLP
Read Emily’s profile









We’d also like to thank the sponsors of the 2017 Precedent Setter Awards.

Presenting sponsor
RainMaker Group



Event sponsors:

5ive15ifteen Photo Irwin LawLaurel HillRyerson LPPLawyers Financial Osgoode Professional Development





Event photography by 5ive15ifteen Studio

Winners’ portraits by Lorne Bridgman

Editor’s Note: That time I went to the Toronto Club and broke all the rules

The first rule of the Toronto Club is: you do not talk about the Toronto Club.

Actually, I have no idea if that’s one of the rules, since pretty much everything about the Toronto Club is a secret — even the rules themselves. I learned this the hard way. “What is this place?” my cab driver asked, as we pulled up to the unmarked building at York and Wellington. “It’s a private club,” I replied. “Probably the most exclusive one in the city, maybe in the country.”

This came as a surprise. “I thought it was a church,” he said. “I’m always dropping off old people here.”

The cabbie wasn’t impressed, but I was eager to be the lunch guest of one of the club’s long-standing members. I’ve been to my share of fancy places, so you’d think I’d know what I was doing. Nope. Here are a few of the rules I quickly learned.

Rule number two: you can’t use your phone. And I mean at all. Not when you’re alone in the lobby, waiting for your host or just checking your email.

Rule number three: if you enter the dining room and see someone you know (like a managing partner or a retired judge), you do not say hello. Even if you’re glad to see them and it seems like it would be rude not to. Got that?

Rule number four: no business. You can’t discuss one lick of the things you were actually hoping to when you arranged this lunch in the first place. You come for the calf’s liver and stay for the polite conversation. If you thought it was going to be more productive than that, You Were Wrong.

Rule number five: no pens allowed. You cannot, may not, will not so much as lean toward your purse for a pen to write something interesting down that you don’t want to forget. No pens. No siree.

And how did I learn these rules? I broke them. And each time I did, my host (a senior partner at a large Bay Street firm, if you must know) was quick to point out my inappropriate behaviour. But from that humiliation (and totally unproductive lunch), a story idea for Precedent was born.

In this issue, our assistant editor, Lisa Coxon, interviews two etiquette experts to get the lowdown on how to confidently dine with someone more senior than you — no matter where you are (“Lunching above your weight”). Etiquette can be a minefield.
But don’t worry, we’ve got your back.

So, is rule number one of the Toronto Club that you do not talk about the Toronto Club? I guess I’m about to find out.





Melissa Kluger
Publisher & Editor


More from the Fall Issue:

Veronica Cham, Lawyer

Party on Trial, Lawyer

Andrew Alleyne, Lawyer

Parent Trap Illustration

Lee Ann Chapman, Lawyer






Photo of Melissa by Mckenzie James

The Circuit: Precedent Setter Awards 2016

What: Precedent Setter Awards 2016
Where: The Spoke Club, 600 King St. W.
When: June 20, 2016

It’s always one of Precedent’s proudest moments — our annual event to celebrate the winners of the Precedent Setter Awards.

And last week, more than 120 lawyers and guests gathered came out to the Spoke Club in downtown Toronto to honour this year’s winners. It’s the sole chance for the legal community in Toronto to congratulate and mingle with all six winners, who, in their first 10 years of practice, are remaking the profession for the better.

“Each year, we receive so many nominations for this award,” said Precedent’s publisher and editor Melissa Kluger. “And from those nominations, we look for lawyers who’ve done outstanding legal work and been active members of their community.”

This year’s winners definitely delivered: they all boast wicked-smart legal minds that have thrust their careers into overdrive.

Congratulations again to all our winners:

Lawyer Tanya Walker of Walker Law Professional Corporation

Tanya Walker
Founder, Walker Law Professional Corporation
Read Tanya’s profile

Lawyer Solomon Friedman of Edelson Clifford D'Angelo Friedman Barristers LLP

Solomon Friedman
Partner, Edelson Clifford D’Angelo Friedman Barristers LLP
Read Solomon’s profile

Lawyer Peter Aprile of Counter Tax Law

Peter Aprile
Founder, Counter Tax Lawyers
Read Peter’s profile









Lawyer Jacqueline Swaisland of Lorne Waldman Professional Corporation

Jacqueline Swaisland
Associate, Lorne Waldman Professional Corporation
Read Jacqueline’s profile

Lawyer Suhuyini Abudalai of Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP

Suhuyini Abudulai Associate, Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP
Read Suhuyini’s profile

Lawyer Sunil Gurmukh of the Ontario Human Rights Commission

Sunil Gurmukh
Counsel, Ontario Human Rights Commission
Read Sunil’s profile









We’d like to extend a big thank-you to our presenting sponsor RainMaker Group and our event sponsors Clear Concept, Deloitte and Laurel Hill Advisory Group.

Event photography by Yvonne Bambrick

Winners’ portraits by Ian Patterson

Editor’s note: Paw-sitive thinking

I feel like we’ve known each other long enough that I can admit something I’m not proud of: I’m not a dog person. That’s right. I said it. Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up with a dog. Maybe it’s that dogs make me nervous. Or maybe I just can’t get into the whole stoop-and-scoop business. Whatever the case, I don’t see dog ownership in my future. Nor do I see dog-sitting or dog-walking for that matter.

But you know what? I still like dogs, in part because my daughter is obsessed with them right now. We’ve got three dog-related kids shows on rotation at my house (including Dogs with Jobs, which I highly recommend). And the other night we got into a dramatic argument because I “destroyed” (read: put away) a bed she had built for her toy dog out of blankets, books and puzzle boxes.

I also like dogs because, hey, I’m not some kind of monster! In my daily work life, I meet new people all the time. And we get along best when we make a personal connection. It could be about kids, relationships, hobbies, sports and, yes, even pets.

And making personal connections isn’t just about being nice. As Brendan Wong, a partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, explains in our cover story, the best rainmakers can get along with just about anyone. “If you’re going to a Leafs game with a client, read some headlines in the sports section,” he says. “If you know someone likes dogs, look something up about dogs.” You don’t have to change who you are for your clients — you still might not be a Leafs fan or a dog person — but you should make an effort to understand their interests.

Whether you’re at ease around barking and tail-wagging dogs, or merely enjoy them from a distance, there’s a photo series in this issue you’re bound to love. For some springtime fun, we took six lawyers and seven dogs to a west-end photo studio where photographer Jaime Hogge captured some wonderful moments.

I can now say I have what it takes to relate to dog-loving colleagues and clients. So, who wants to teach me a thing or two about hockey?





Melissa Kluger
Publisher & Editor


Post Script: Want to know who made partner?

It’s that time of year when everyone is talking about partnership. And so are we. Not only is it the subject of our cover story, but the first few pages of our print issue are full of lawyers who just made partner. Each one recently appeared on The Precedent A-List, our online networking site for lawyers. Go there now to see who else has made partner. And check back often: the site is constantly updated with the latest law firm news and jobs from Toronto and beyond.

More from the Spring issue:

Border Terrier

How to make partner

lidiya yermakova

mark zekulin

Parent trap illustration






Photo of Melissa by Mckenzie James