It was February 2003 when I first started working for this magazine. At the time, we were called Corporate Legal Times. The staff worked in an old office building in Chicago’s West Loop that smelled of spoiled pickles (we never figured that one out). Our office “walls” didn’t actually reach the ceiling in the loft-style setup, making it challenging to conduct interviews and focus on our work. The tabloid-sized magazine took on a look akin to the National Enquirer–boasting oversized pages writers and editors had to fill with substantive content. And among the most notable differences was our in-house editorial staff.
My predecessor Rob Vosper stood at the helm of CLT, and I was his only staff editor. We had one in-house writer and a handful of freelancers. I did not envy Rob’s responsibility of having to pull together the magazine month-in and month-out, but I remember feeling a sense of security that no matter what, it would get done and it would get done well.
Things have really changed since then. We’ve redesigned the magazine to reflect the sophistication of our readers and changed the name to InsideCounsel. The book is smaller and laid out more formulaically. Our offices are now in a nice, scent-free downtown building overlooking the Chicago River. And although Rob has moved on to other endeavors, and we boast four full-time, talented editors, who have become the backbone of the magazine. I can say with confidence that this magazine is better than ever. And as much as I would love to take responsibility for even a small piece of that, the true heroes behind the success of InsideCounsel are not only our small group of dedicated editors, but also Rob and his vision.
Anyone faced with the challenges of working with minimal staff while striving to produce quality work deserves serious recognition. In this month’s cover story (“Small Successes“), InsideCounsel profiles 10 legal department leaders who are making a difference for their companies, either alone or with only one other in-house lawyer. The achievements of these lawyers include implementing a pro bono program within a small department and efficiently managing international issues for a global company. These GCs are poster children for making a difference with limited resources, and they are a true credit to the in-house legal profession.
In today’s economic times, we’re all being asked to do more with less. These profiles may offer us some inspiration. As tough as it may seem, we can always get the job done well.