OMDC SUCCESS STORY: IRWIN LAW INC.
“Where are the Irwin Law books?”
It’s the first question a freshly-minted young lawyer is likely to ask upon joining a firm.
Approximately 50 per cent of Irwin Law’s readers are students, who then carry their beloved textbooks with them when they enter the legal profession. The Essentials of Canadian Law, a series of texts that cover most of the basic areas of law, is the centerpiece of the publishing program.
“The books have grown up with the law students as they’ve moved into legal practice,” explains Jeffrey Miller, the company’s founding publisher. Having just marked 20 years in business, Irwin Law may be one of the nation’s youngest legal publishers, but it successfully holds its own in a marketplace dominated by larger, more established houses.
In addition to developing a sought-after catalogue of legal texts penned by law professionals who are authorities in their fields, the publishing house has also created an innovative way to access legal research online.
Thanks to support from the OMDC, Irwin Law created its very own e-library, a proprietary platform that includes all of its titles, organized in a format conducive to legal research.
“It’s a different kind of ebook format,” explains Miller, adding that researchers access the service through a subscription. “We discovered the conventional e-book wasn’t going to work. The books are streamed online, and there are built-in features that allow for access to other legal research areas, so researches can do work as seamlessly as possible.”Miller describes the company’s move into the digital world as daunting, because “the legal info market is dominated by two giant multi-nationals.” However, help from the OMDC enabled them to get the platform up and running, then keep it vibrant.
“Being involved with the OMDC, whether it is receiving feedback from them on what we’re doing, or getting to interact with people in other industries, is always positive,” says Miller.
The company continues to grow by repurposing its content for different users in law-related fields, for example by publishing tax books for accountants, and by marketing to lawyers who need to meet their profession’s continuing education requirements.
“For five years the legal profession has had mandatory continuing professional development requirements. We believe a lot of what we have is useful in that marketplace; that’s a big one.”
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