There was probably some, or a lot of, scepticism out there when Melissa Kluger launched Precedent magazine, the Toronto-based lifestyle magazine for lawyers.
Well, it is about the celebrate its 10th anniversary, which is no mean feat. For its fall anniversary issue, senior editor Daniel Fish sat down with Kluger to talk about the magazine's origins. She was working in the law, but has always wanted to be a journalist.
"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."She launched a blog and quit her job as a lawyer and spent the next year planning ( working part-time on doc-review contracts for lawyers to pay the rent.) The magazine started out strong, but almost immediately met several major obstacles: a recession, a competing magazine from Canadian Lawyer, and the move of traditional advertisers to digital. She overcame them all.
DF: "One big thing that has changed at Precedent [over the 10 years] 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."