So you want to be a criminal lawyer...

Frequently asked questions and infrequently heard answers

The Thin Line Between Success and Failure: What Sidney Crosby's 2016 Stanley Cup Can Teach Lawyers

In 2015, Sidney Crosby was going through the worst slump of his career. He had 15 points in 23 games and instead of being in his usual top 5 spot among the NHL scoring leaders, was ranked somewhere in the hundreds. Sports writers started to write him off as going through an inevitable decline that happens with age and following injuries.

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What Law Students And Legal Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

“Life moves pretty fast” says a young Matthew Broderick to the camera breaking the fourth wall with the audience in the classic 80s movie Ferris Buerller’s Day Off. “If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

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What I am most Grateful for In Practicing Criminal Defence: the Paavo Nurmi Method of Being a Lawyer

Criminal defence lawyers love to complain. I would be lying if I didn't say I like doing it too from time to time. All of us need this kind of release every once in a while. The grind. The long hours. The stress. The low pay in the sense of the input not matching the output and compared to other types of lawyers. But the other day one of my colleagues flipped the script when he asked me what I was most grateful for practicing criminal defence.

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Criminal Clients Don't Play Golf

To whoever said that “golf is a good walk spoiled” – I say amen brother! Before you read this post and think I am crazy, you have to understand that I am Jewish and Jews get irrational annoyances out of all proportion to the general population.

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Why I Support the Creation of Ryerson University Law School

I talk to a lot of law students that oppose the existence of another law school in Ontario and are not happy that Ryerson University Law School has been approved by the Law Society of Ontario and is set to begin classes in September of 2020. I know how they feel. Many of them are in six figure debt and are facing down the prospect of a competitive job market in their late twenties.

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How Much Does a Criminal Lawyer Make?

I get asked this question a lot and before I answer, I need to know what you are thinking in asking this question.  Most people that ask this question are making a logical mistake. The better way of asking this question is to ask: how much does a criminal lawyer make compared to an alternative career that I could actually pursue and be successful at?

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Hello to Criminal Law and Goodbye to Bad Conversations

I actually articled at a Bay Street firm that I want to emphasize I thought was excellent and continue to.  I am very proud to have articled there and to have seen how highly intelligent and conscientious lawyers think about their roles and how much hard work they put into their cases.  All of that said, I never really enjoyed the subject matter so it would make sense that I rarely enjoyed the conversations I had the year I articled.

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How do You Represent the People You Represent?

I have represented everyone from accused drug traffickers, to accused sexual assaulters, to accused murderers.  The stock answer to this question from most criminal lawyers goes something like this: “Because I believe that every person is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and because I believe every person is entitled to a fair trial.  Because I believe that advocating for accused people facing the power of the state is the best way to preserve civil liberties in a democratic society and because I believe challenging the power of the state is fundamental to a democratic society.” Of course I believe these things as well and will fight for these principles until my last breath.  But I cannot say this is the main reason that I love criminal law or became a defence lawyer.

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What is Criminal Law Humour and Do I Like It?

Why are there so many Jewish comedians?  From Jerry Seinfeld to Rodney Dangerfield to Mel Brooks to Larry David to Seth Rogan, what is it about the European Jewish culture that produced so many hilarious minds?  After practicing criminal law for many years, to me I have come up with an answer – it is a culture that emerged from suffering and hardship.

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Taxation with Representation - Tax Lessons From a Criminal Lawyer

I actually took tax law in my third year of law school because I had already taken all the courses that I was interested in and because people told me I should take tax law for the bar exam.  I remember exactly two things that my tax professor said in that class. The first was “sometimes people call me and tell me they have a simple issue and ask how much it will cost. I tell them that I don’t deal with simple issues.  I deal with complicated issues. And I bill at a complicated rate.”

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