Skip to content

Monday, September 7, 2015


Prominent lawyer Dennis Edney will speak at an event held by the Empire Club in Toronto next week.

As part of the event, Edney will speak about his ongoing defence of Omar Khadr, a former Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detainee now out on bail in Alberta. Following his remarks, Toronto Star reporter Michelle Shephard will interview Edney on stage.

The event takes place at noon on Sept. 15 at the Hilton hotel at 145 Richmond St. W. in Toronto. Edney is in Toronto for the premiere of the documentary Guantanamo’s Child: Omar Khadr. More information on tickets is available at


For many Canadian lawyers, business, education or fields involving science are the areas they likely would have ended up in if they hadn’t become lawyers, according to a new Robert Half Legal survey released last week.

Fifteen per cent of lawyers surveyed said they would have chosen business management or marketing careers in lieu of practising law. Careers in academia and science, technology, engineering, and math ranked second to business with each of those categories coming in at 13 per cent.

“Even if you’re content with your job, it’s important to periodically examine your career goals to assess whether your priorities or interests have changed,” said Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal.

“Lawyers considering second careers may find that the skills, knowledge, and experience they possess are a natural fit with a variety of roles outside of the legal field.”

In response to the survey, 10 per cent of lawyers said they would have become doctors or worked in the medical field while eight per cent said they would have chosen finance and five per cent would have gone into journalism. Another five per cent said a career in public service would have been their alternative.

For six per cent of respondents, a career outside of law was entirely unimaginable as they said there was nothing else they would have done.

The biggest group of respondents, 17 per cent, had no clue what they would have done if they hadn’t gone to law school.

Those last two groups likely involve those who had always dreamed of becoming lawyers, says Gene Roberts, division director at Robert Half Legal in Toronto.

“It’s like your dream was to become an astronaut, you became an astronaut, and someone asked you, ‘What would you be if you weren’t an astronaut?’” says Roberts. “They wouldn’t know because all they thought about the entire time was, ‘I’m going to be an astronaut.’”

Ottawa criminal lawyer Michael Spratt wasn’t surprised the top alternative careers lawyers revealed in the survey included the sciences. Spratt himself chose the law over a career in paleontology after completing his undergraduate degree in biology. He says he turned down the option of four years on a submarine studying long-dead deep-sea Atlantic coral reefs to write factums instead.

“There is a lot in common between the scientific method and thinking and law,” he says, noting “submarines are way cooler than factums.”

If he weren’t a busy criminal lawyer these days, Spratt says he would play for the Toronto Blue Jays. “Or if you are talking about realistic alternative careers, I would give it all up to be a journalist or a backroom political operative in a second,” he says.

Gilbertson Davis LLP civil litigator Lee Akazaki says he and a lot of lawyers come to the profession with backgrounds in business and academia. For his part, Akazaki says he would have become an anthropologist if he weren’t a lawyer.

“I like to study people,” he says.    


Facing tuition of $23,806 this year, students at Osgoode Hall Law School are getting a boost from $1 million in new funding  aimed at increasing accessibility.

York University announced the new funding as Osgoode Hall welcomed about 300 new students this year. Half of the money will create 100 new bursaries of $5,000. The university will disburse the money over two years to mark the 50th anniversary of Osgoode Hall’s affiliation with York in 1965. The rest of the money will go toward Osgoode Hall’s new income-contingent loan program. The program covers students’ tuition with recipients agreeing to repay their loan over 10 years once they’re earning more than $80,000.

“Osgoode has made accessibility and inclusion a key and sustaining priority,” said Osgoode dean Lorne Sossin.


The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

According to the poll, almost 66 per cent of respondents think liberalization of the legal profession is inevitable. The poll followed a recent speech by Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin at the Canadian Bar Association’s legal conference in Calgary in which she urged lawyers to embrace innovation. During her speech, McLachlin emphasized that liberalization of the legal profession is inevitable.

cover image


Subscribers get early and easy access to Law Times.

Law Times Poll

Lawyers have expressed concerns that of 38 justices of the peace the province appointed this summer, only 12 have law degrees. Do you think this is an issue?