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Gail J. Cohen

Goodbye but not farewell

The August issue of Canadian Lawyer has long been my favourite to work on due to the inclusion of the Top 25 Most Influential. While it’s a labour-intensive process to come to the final list, I am always amazed and inspired by the nominees. And this year, we received a record number of nominations from across the country and from so many areas of practice and the justice system. It was amazing and gratifying to see how many people put forth the names of their colleagues and friends to be recognized for the great work they do both as jurists and within their communities. I salute all of the nominees and their nominators and hope you, too, are inspired when you read about the people who made it on to this year’s Top 25.

This issue, however, is the last I will work on as editor in chief. After almost two decades working on Canadian Lawyer, Law Times, and all of their sister publications, web sites, blogs, and other digital products, I have decided it is time to seek out new adventures. It has been an extraordinary time in which I have seen the profession change, grow, and grapple with so much including reinventing itself and working towards a more inclusive environment and justice system. It has been a privilege to be a part of that and I’d like to take this opportunity to call out some of my personal Top 25 Most Influential.

At 25, I started with this group of publications as a reporter at Law Times. I had covered a total of one court case previously and knew not so much about law or the justice system. I quickly learned a lot, including building a certain strength of character required to write about law and lawyers while not having a law degree myself. It was tough at first to gain the trust of sources and readers, but Harvey Strosberg, then treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada, as well as current Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Eleanore Cronk gave me invaluable insights about the profession early on. I also had the great fortune of the support of many in the profession who over and over again made me better at what I do. So I must especially thank Eugene Meehan, Bill Trudell, Dera Nevin, Carla Swansburg, Lisa Borsook, Linda Rothstein, Jane Southren, and Ricardo Federico for their wit and wisdom over many years. There are so many more incredible people in the profession who have helped and educated me and I thank every one of you as well.

Strong characters Michael Fitz-James and Stuart Morrison, who have both sadly passed away, were early mentors on the business and journalism side and I still hear their voices and advice (with which I didn’t always agree) in my head. Publisher Karen Lorimer taught me even more about the business and together we grew the publications and our reach into something I consider pretty great. I often made her crazy, but Karen allowed me to take chances and do things that resulted in some great journalism that I hope has served our readers well. I have also had the great pleasure of working with some fantastic writers, editors, photographers, and illustrators who, along with my extraordinarily talented art director Bill Hunter, have given us a beautiful magazine filled with valuable and powerful content.

I thank you all for this wonderful experience.


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