The Law Times, the lawyers' weekly newspaper, takes a look at the lawyer turned author.
Public Inquiry is a periodic feature that asks Ontario lawyers "hard-hitting" questions about their personal lives and practices. (This "Public Inquiry" Interview is reprinted from the March 13, 2000 issue of Law Times, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canada Law Book Inc.)
Name: Barry H. Smith
Firm: Neal and Smith
Current gig: Besides practising law, my first novel has just been published, entitled "Twilight Dynasty: Courting Evil".
What's the funniest thing you ever heard said in a courtroom? "Not Guilty" at the end of the O.J. Simpson trial.
What's the best nickname for a judge that you've heard? Sorry, but I'd like to retain my Law Society membership.
What books are on your bedside table? "Twilight Dynasty: Courting Evil", of course. Also, "The Testament" by John Grisham.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Australia
If you found a cockroach in your food at a restaurant, what would you do? Immediately develop an actionable aversion to restaurant food, call a personal injury lawyer, and eat at home until the settlement cheque clears the bank.
What do you think is Canada's stupidest law? I'll keep that one to myself.
If you could be a breakfast cereal, which one would you be and why? Rice Krispies, because then I could still mouth off, although I'd have trouble billing for the advice.
What famous person in history would you like to meet? Jesus Christ. Why go with the second stringers.
What's your favourite beverage? White wine, please... and leave the bottle.
What sport do you think most closely resembles the practice of law? Tennis. The practice of law is often not a team sport, it's you and your opponent head-to-head. You take turns serving up your best, hoping to catch your opponent napping in the "court". There are rules of conduct that apply, and a judge in a high chair to enforce them. In court you call your opponent "my friend", while in tennis you score the loser with another term of endearment -- "love".
What's the craziest case you ever
had to take on? It was actually my own case, when one of my
clients sued me, together with a long list of doctors and politicians,
for conspiracy to eliminate him. You see, he was a Martian clone with a
definite persecution complex. The Superior Court and Court of Appeal threw
out his lawsuit since he didn't have proper standing to bring an action
What's your favourite legal term?
"Notwithstanding", because one phrase starting with this word can render
the balance of a document, no matter how lengthy, completely irrelevant.
What's your favourite legal show on television? Don't have one. I find real life more entertaining... and much more "true to life".
What is your greatest fear? That
I'll be quoted out of context by the Law Times.
What do you dislike most about your
appearance? The last twenty pounds that I gained.
Which word or phrase do you feel you overuse? Actually, I actually don't feel that in actuality I overuse the word "actually", but actually I can't be actually certain of that fact without actually conducting an actual examination of actual recordings of myself in an actual conversation.
What's your pick for best movie of the year? The Green Mile
Which talent would you most like to have? The talent to make money and lots of it.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Publication of my novel, "Twilight Dynasty: Courting Evil", available at all discriminating bookstores, as well as non-discriminating bookstores.
If you weren't a lawyer, what would you be? A full-time novelist.
Who are your heroes in real life? I'm not really into hero worship. Hey, shouldn't that be "heroes and/or heroines"?
How would you like to die? Not at all; or in my sleep, if I have to go.
What is your theme song? "Dream the Impossible Dream"
When did you last sing to yourself?
In the shower this morning.
To someone else? I wouldn't be doing them any favour.
What's your favourite food? Cheese
blintzes with strawberry topping.
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