Why are they wearing formal attire? It may be the question you're asking yourself as you look at the front cover. You may also ask yourself why we did a longer pull-out cover this month.
I am a fan of Vanity Fair magazine in terms of its design. I also like that they produce longer stories because I believe that some topics deserve a longer story. In terms of the design, Vanity Fair will do its annual Hollywood issue where they shoot a group of actors for the cover photo. Sometimes the magazine considers them up-and-coming stars. Other times they fell into the seasoned veterans' category. But each time they do a longer horizontal shot that covers several pages. The photo puts them in a casual environment so that readers pay attention to the people more than the set. Our version of the Hollywood issue is the June issue, which provides our readers with the survey of the largest firms in Illinois. We enter into our 12th year of the survey.
At the same time, I am intrigued by leaders — those people who must be creative, organized, able to handle a multitude of human relations issues, equal parts positive and tough and big picture-oriented. I too am a leader and I'm constantly thinking about how to improve myself as an editor, while at the same time improve our publications. Being a leader is no easy task, but it's such an amazing experience that will forever change my life. But the bigger the staff, then I'm guessing the bigger the challenges. So I can only imagine the challenges that large firm leaders face on a daily basis.
I don't need to tell any of you that running a law firm got a whole lot tougher as the economy tanked and as globalization continues to become even more important to law firm business. Clients want more creative billing options, but they also want help with their Chicago business as well as their business in China in a seamless fashion.
That made me think about the law firm leaders running the largest Illinois firms. What does it take to run a large firm and how do they think strategically? These questions get discussed in reporter Roy Strom's story. The same leaders pictured on the cover also took time to answer Roy's questions about law firm leadership.
But, I must return to the cover and why the lawyers wore formal clothes. I wanted the cover to celebrate law firm leadership. I wanted the cover to show who leads these large law firms during these changing times.
By them wearing a tux or a formal dress, it would be my way of celebrating their accomplishments and that they successfully lead their firms and maintain their firms' sizes. We often run stories in both this magazine and in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin talking about how the economy hurts law firms. I wanted the cover to convey a sense of celebration for the accomplishments made by these leaders. Now, some law firms did not see my vision or want to participate because this cover was so different. And others simply faced prior commitments that took precedent over the cover shoot. But I thank the law firms that did participate in the cover shoot and I celebrate them.
This is the first time we have ever done this type of cover, so this is a historical cover for the magazine. And I'm very excited about how it turned out and I'm happy I got to work with these lawyers. Also, in full disclosure I want to let readers know that the shoot occurred over three days. We shot three lawyers on one day, three on another and two lawyers individually on the last day. Our cover photographer Lisa Predko and her team photoshopped the lawyers together so that we have one cover. Also, at the time of the photo and production of the magazine we did not know that Paul Theiss would succeed Bert Kreuger as chairman of Mayer Brown, effective June 1.
This month we start our regular one-page feature on fashionable lawyers. Rebecca Edwards, a 36-year-old attorney at Mandell Menkes, kicks us off.
Freelance reporter Sherry Karabin writes about how green technology affects the employment law community. It's an interesting read. Roy also writes about today's world for associates in large firms and how that varies from 2007 pre-recession.
This month kicks off the surveys for this year. The Illinois law firm survey starts on page 25 and the associate survey starts on page 36 of the magazine.
Our Inspiring Innovators series continues with a profile about Gail Hasbrouck. Hasbrouck is senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of Oak Brook-based Advocate Health Care.
Also, Assistant Editor Amanda Robert won a "Lisagor Award" in May for her Chicago Lawyer story about the legal ramifications associated with food trucks. The story ran in our November 2011 issue. It's on our homepage at chicagolawyermagazine.com.