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Melissa Kluger likes to say that she’s the only person who went to law school to confirm that she wanted to be a publisher. After being called to the bar in 2002, she discovered that none of the legal magazines serving her professional community really spoke to her, so she founded one.

Launched in 2007, Precedent is a Toronto-based city magazine for lawyers.

“We’re less about the law, and more about the culture of being a lawyer,” explains the publisher and editor. “We want the magazine to be read by lawyers for both business and pleasure.”

Kluger’s publishing roots are deep. In high school, she edited the school newspaper and yearbook. As an undergraduate student at Queen’s University, she launched a magazine. Then while studying law at the University of Toronto, she began a student newspaper as a community building exercise.

“I have always been very drawn to publishing,” she admits, noting that “I’m entrepreneurial and I like new ideas and watching them take shape.”

Almost a quarter of all practising lawyers in Canada are based in Toronto, making it the ideal place to publish a high quality niche magazine like Precedent. While all the content is eventually posted online, the publication is distributed by mail to over 15,000 lawyers on a quarterly basis. Journalists do most of the writing, but all of the magazine’s columnists (to say nothing of its models) are lawyers.

Kluger says the magazine purposely seeks out a new generation of talented lawyers to promote.

“After we profile them, we find them in other places in the media. Our subjects end up in the mainstream.”

The OMDC has been part of the magazine’s success. In the past it has provided grants to fund a reader survey, develop marketing materials, and expand by building a website targeting law students.

“The OMDC invests in sustainable projects, and then helps you take the risks you need to take to grow the business,” says the publisher. “But you have to be organized and develop a business plan for the piece of business you want to pursue. It forces you to be clear on how you’re going to move ahead and what goals you want to achieve.”

And the magazine is gaining attention. At the Canadian Business Media Awards in 2016, it won one gold, two silvers, and was named best media brand. In 2015, Precedent took a gold at the National Magazine Awards, something Kluger describes an incredibly proud moment.

“To stack up against the best magazines in country and win makes it worthwhile. I am most proud that I make an absolutely beautiful magazine with high levels of journalistic integrity.”

Learn more about Precedent:
Twitter: @PrecedentMag
Facebook: @PrecedentMag
LinkedIn: Precedent Magazine