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Thursday, August 23, 2007

"Exile on Bay Street"

Here's a nice piece from Alec Scott, a very nice and talented guy who graduated from the University of Toronto's law school a year before me and ultimately left law for journalism.  The piece is in the fairly standard genre of lawyers, or former lawyers, complaining about the intolerable life of the big-firm associate, but it's very well done -- and made me curious, I must admit, about the concealed identities of some of the classmates that he mentions!  Here's a nice paragraph discussing one classmate who faces conflicts between his life at a large firm and his life at home, as a new father.  Substitute a few names -- the law school, the firm -- and this description of law firm life in Toronto works equally well just about anywhere else:

“If you want to be a success downtown,” New Father carps, “then go to U of T, take all the corporate law courses, work your ass off, go to Oslers, work your ass off again, and 20 years from now you can look around and say, ‘I have more money than God.’ But let me ask you something: what’s in your photo album?”

An enjoyable and interesting article -- especially if you're reading it from behind a desk in some gargantuan office tower somewhere, in between billable hours.  For the Canucks among us, it also provides, in spots, a nice picture of a now faded and disappearing community in Canada, the old gentleman's club of lawyers at white-shoe firms in previous generations: "cryptic-crossword doers, streaky bridge players," veterans of "boozy dinner parties at . . . cottage[s]."  Not that different, really, from the equally faded characters who populate Louis Auchincloss's stories about the New York firms.  (Hat tip: the Canadian law blog Precedent: The New Rules of Law and Style.)      

Posted by Paul Horwitz on August 23, 2007 at 04:00 PM in Article Spotlight | Permalink


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