A periodic feature in which Law Times asks Ontario lawyers hard-hitting questions about their personal lives and practices.
Q: Who's the smartest person you know?
A: My wife — after all, she married me, didn't she?
Q: What would constitute a "perfect" evening for you?
A: An evening of animated discussion with friends and family.
Q: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
A: Politics — a once noble profession.
Q: Whom do you admire most? Why does that person inspire you?
A: My parents. They made good lives for themselves and for their children on three different continents.
Q: What's your greatest strength?
A: Being able to persuade with equal amounts of tenacity and good humor.
Q: What quality do you admire most in others?
A: Honesty and loyalty.
Q: What was your first job?
A: Criminal law clerk in the Law Courts in Salisbury, Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe).
Q: What's the funniest thing that has happened to you in your career?
A: The funniest events are protected by solicitor-client privilege. The stories will have to remain untold.
Q: What are five things you can't live without?
A: 1) My family; 2) my BlackBerry/cell phone; 3) the occasional squash game; 4) 3 p.m. tea time; and 5) my iPod.
Q: If someone made a movie of your life, who would you want to play you?
A: Some might suggest Brad
Pitt, but realistically, James Gandolfini.
Q: What area of law do you practise?
A: Civil litigation with emphasis on commercial litigation, professional negligence, and personal injury.
Q: Is it everything you thought it would be?
A: . . . and more!
Q: What is the greatest accomplishment of your life so far?
A: Aside from my family, having been given the honour and privilege to be a leader in the Canadian Jewish Community during the recent global upheaval, and the resurgence of global anti-Semitism.
Q: What has been your greatest challenge?
A: After practising law for almost 30 years, maintaining one's sense of perspective and one's sanity — all with a sense of humor.
Q: What kind of work do you hope to do as a governor of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews?
A: To educate new (and all Canadians, for that matter) that there is a fundamental social contract that involves the state eschewing a policy of assimilation, while minority communities pursue the path of full integration. Distinctiveness is encouraged with the understanding that there is an adoption of, and loyalty to, an overarching Canadianism.
As Canadians, many of us carry historical baggage from our ancestral homelands and are intellectually and emotionally engaged in current overseas conflicts. Despite the serious disagreements engendered however, the debate must be carried out in an atmosphere of civility. The challenge, in short, is of reconciling the ethnocultural past with the multicultural present.