The education of the practice of law does not happen in classrooms, and some would argue that it shouldn’t. Collecting the anthology of experiences by practitioners is one of the immense potentials of the digital era that future generations of lawyers may yet benefit from.
Some enterprising students at Osgode Hall have launched a new podcast, focusing on legal entrepreneurship. The most recent episode of the Legal Entrepreneurs Podcast interviews me, where I provide some personal insights into sole practice.
The most rewarding aspect of sole practice is the potential for greater control, and if exerted properly, better work-life balance. It’s the elusive objective for most lawyers, but has the greatest potential to also address issues like the retention of women and minorities in practice. The challenges are all of the regulatory and administrative hurdles to establishing and continuing an independent practice, and I emphasize the role of professional organizations like the Ontario Bar Association in providing some of these supports.
Given the diverse professional experiences I had before law, I also weighed in how work experiences outside of law can assist new lawyers in their careers. I expand on some of the definitional problems with areas like “health law,” and how technology is playing a role in practice.
I also talk about being an introvert, despite being actively involved in the social scene in the legal industry, and how emotional intelligence is something that is continually developed.
Their previous episode interviews a former military individual who went to law school, practiced law on Bay St briefly, and then escaped to sole practice. Their first episode is with Pulat Yunusov, who also writes here on Slaw.
These are the conversations I wish I had when I was a law student.
I did have some of these conversations when I was in law school, when I hosted my own podcast on Law is Cool. Almost a decade ago, Connie blogged about it here on Slaw:
I just listened to the recent Episode 10 discussing the 7 Year Law Degree with Jordan Furlong; using a law degree for alternative careers with David Aylward, founder and director of COMCARE Emergency Response Alliance; and access to justice and the Justice on Target program with Minister Chis Bentley, the Attorney-General of Ontario. Kudos to this episode’s hosts Thomas Wisdom and Omar Ha-Redeye.
The site is largely defunct, primarily given the tragic circumstances of my dear friend Thomas in 2012, but his content is also a reminder of his brief journeys through law as well.
It’s also almost a decade since I first joined Slaw, which would not have been possible without Connie and Simon Fodden. It’s an opportunity to also reflect on the latter, and how he too has affected my life.
The Mexican holiday Día de Muertos traces back to Indigenous and Aztec traditions, and originally took place around this time in the year until it was pushed to the fall by Conquistadores to coincide with existing Catholic celebrations. Increasingly popularized in the media, co-writers and directors of the Pixar film “Coco,” Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molin, spoke to NPR in a podcast earlier this year about the holiday. Unkritch, who is not of Mexican heritage, stated,
…this whole notion of this remembrance not being this kind of somber time but more being a time of just joyously remembering people and gathering together as a family to tell stories and, you know – and to pass stories along to the next generation – it’s just – you know, it’s beautiful. It’s a beautiful, beautiful celebration. And I almost wish I could roll back time and introduce these ideas into my own family because it’s a beautiful thing, and it’s something that we’re – or my family’s definitely embracing now moving forward. My own father just passed away a few weeks ago, and, you know, he’s very much going to be perched on our ofrenda at the beginning of November.
On Father’s Day, it’s also appropriate to consider the knowledge that is often passed on through parent to child, or entrusted by a parent to the rearing of another. The earliest forms of legal training often took this shape, such as in 1486 at the Inner Temple, where Humphrey Starkey placed his sun under “oversight, guiding and rule” of Thomas Marow, and in 1535, when Viscountess Lisle’s son went to Lincoln’s Inn under Master Sulyard pupilage.
It wasn’t until 1863 that the four Inns created the Consolidated Regulations that provided the conditions for being called to the bar, meaning that for the majority of legal history, this type of informal conversations, or learning by anecdote, was the main way that practicing the law actually occurred.
The new Law Society of Ontario consultation paper on lawyer licensing will renew these conversations about training pathways, with most members of the bar likely to prefer some form of post-university practical training. In supplement to whatever option does proceed, podcasts providing insights of practitioners may serve as an additional (optional) resources.
These narratives have never been compiled before in this way in legal history, where they can be universally accessed by any new lawyer and without political patronage or familial influence, and are also a way that our stories can live on. In the interview with Molina, he stated,
…The idea of this, like, intermediate place where the dead are still kind of alive – it’s based… on the idea that you remain alive in some way as long as you are alive in memory – as long as there are people who are remembering you – that you still, in some ways, are alive. When the people who remember you die, or when the living just forget you, then the dead move to, like, the final death. And they kind of disappear from this intermediary place between life and death. And it’s a really interesting way of looking at it – that the afterlife is memory. It’s the memory of the living.
Legal podcasts on practice can be more than just an interesting listen. In this way, through service of future generations of lawyers, we do live on in memories – as do those before us.