Easy Question for All Slaw Readers

Who is the most interesting lawyer you’ve ever encountered?


  1. I’m tempted to say either Rupert CrossAs Tony Honoré put it in the DNB“Cross was unusual among English academic lawyers in the degree to which he spoke the language of judges and practitioners without sacrificing scholarly rigour or theoretical insight. But it was as a blind man that his achievement was most striking. To his undaunted spirit, blindness was not a barrier, nor even a handicap, but just a nuisance to be overcome. He refused to submit to it, and by his courage rose to the summit of his chosen profession.” or David Lepofsky who share brilliance, wit and blindness, but in all honesty, it’s probably my first law teacher, then a part time litigator known as Lennie Hoffmann, who taught us Roman Law, Criminal Law, Land Law and Torts. Now he’s Lord Hoffmann, of the House of Lords, notorious for the Pinochet bias hearing and for his reformulation of contract interpretation. And forty years after I first met him, he’s still the smartest lawyer I’ve ever encountered. Other nominations?

  2. I can think of one or two notorious counsel I have known, but the most interesting lawyer I ever met would have to be UWO Professor James (“Jay”) McLeod. He was brilliant, and tireless. and accounts of him are legend.

    As a professor, he would fill up almost every inch of the chalkboard–often with multiple colours (the coloured chalks were a gift from one of his students). In trial, he once poured a pitcher of water over his own head when he perceived that the judge was nodding off. Jay remarked he had three cracks at changing the law: once by teaching us, his students, secondly by choosing which cases to include in his reporter, and thirdly by his case comments which were a must-read for practitioners in Family Law. He is no longer with us. RIP, Jay.

  3. I’d have to say the most interesting Lawyer I’ve known (sans my wife) would be D. Wayne Lewis, who is also now deceased. Wayne got me my first job in a law firm in Dec. 1994, and to this day is one of the biggest ‘grumps’ I’ve come across. Likely a badge of honour to him, and now a term of endearment to me.

    Post graduate school, and while my wife was in law school, I took a temp job selling Computers. I had handed out 200+ CVs in London Ontario area, and had little success finding a ‘professional’ job. One day Wayne came in, and after a brief ‘computer’ discussion, he proceeded to grill me on everything from technology, to copyright issues, to my career aspirations. I told him I wanted to work with the issues surrounding business & information, was involved in web development, and had a background in records management. At the end of the conversation, he said, ‘we need someone like that, call me’. … A couple weeks later, and after a number of unreturned phone calls, and me forcing a copy of my CV across his desk, I had a much needed job.

    I found out a few years later that he had championed my hiring process, and that the firm Administrator thought we were somehow related, ‘from the way he talked about me’. This was news to me. We had very few conversations, and many of our interactions were quite short. To my credit, he hadn’t thrown any hardware at me (Wayne had a reputation for throwing Dictaphones when they didn’t work for him…). Wayne was also the guy that tried to shove a CD-ROM into a 5.25 floppy drive, which I’ve kept secret until now.

    Anyway, big life lesson. Watch out for those cranky older lawyers who just might be mentoring you when you’re not looking.

  4. This is very easy for me, the late, Ronald St. John MacDonald; among many things, former Dean of Dalhousie Law School, a member of the Companion of the Order of Canada, the only non-European judge of the European Court of Human Rights and the first Westerner appointed as Honorary Professor of Law at China’s Peking University.

    Answering his reference questions was always a challenge and always an education. I have only scratched the surface of his accomplishments, peruse some of the links below.

    Order of Canada

    Blog Tributes

    Wikipedia Entry

    Canadian Council of International Law


    Dalhousie Law School