When a journalist comes calling

AuthorKirk Makin
g Summer 2011
When a jurnalist cmes calling
My least pleasant encounter with a lawyer occurred in the
early 1980s, back in the days when exotic Charter of Rights
challenges were all the rage. After one such challenge had
crashed and burned on appeal, I quoted the unsuccessful litigant moan-
ing about the more than $100,000 she had blown on legal fees in her
failed cause.
Later that day, the high-prole Toronto litigator who had represented
her called to accuse me, in so many words, of printing a gure so out-
landish that I had to have known it was false.
I was incredulous. “Are you actually suggesting I’m lying?” “If the
shoe ts, wear it,” he snarled.
Early in their careers, journalists become used to dealing with
aggrieved parties and hurt feelings. However, it’s one thing to dispute
and object, quite another to malign and level accusations of dishonesty.
Five thousand articles later, I have yet to call or quote that lawyer again–
a record I intend to maintain.
Happily, the incident was an aberration rather than a harbinger of
horrors to come. In the intervening years, I have interviewed, lunched
and chatted with thousands of lawyers without ever encountering
another as insuerable or mean-spirited. The truth is, most lawyers– in
common with most journalists– are dedicated, opinionated individuals
who tend to maintain a cheerfully jaundiced outlook on the world.

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