Paul Fruitman has decorated his office with animation art, toys and collectibles. The idea is to surround himself with objects that lighten the mood. “I like having a bit of whimsy in my life,” says the partner and commercial litigator at Lax O’Sullivan. “It keeps the atmosphere relaxed and helps me think creatively.”
Fruitman loves to wander around in the PATH. Before the pandemic, he sometimes dropped into the now-closed Toys Toys Toys, scooping up little knickknacks—like this Oscar the Grouch figurine—when they caught his eye.
Fruitman and his wife, Lisa, a dentist, have two daughters, ages 14 and 16. At the office, he displays artwork that his children made as youngsters.
About 15 years ago, outside of Union Station, Fruitman received a free sample of Coca-Cola Blak, a coffee-flavoured soft drink that was introduced in 2006 and discontinued about two years later. Initially, Fruitman planned to down the soda when he needed an urgent caffeine boost. But, he says, “I never found the right moment to open it.” He now sees the bottle as a cool artifact.
Put your records on
A pair of Edifer bookshelf speakers sits on Fruitman’s desk. “It’s hard for me to work in pure silence,” he says. “I generally have music playing quietly in the background.” He listens to everything from indie rock to jazz and classic soul.
When puzzling over a tricky problem, Fruitman sometimes relies on this Slinky. He’ll hold the toy in both hands and transfer its weight from one palm to the other. The calming rhythm helps spark new ideas.
A good laugh
This limited-edition Looney Tunes animation cel—in which Daffy Duck cross-examines Santa Claus—is one of two that hang in Fruitman’s office. Colleagues often get a kick out of it when they pay him a visit.
As a playful homage to Lax O’Sullivan’s founders, Fruitman has placed nametags—one for Clifford Lax, the other for Terry O’Sullivan—above figurines of Statler and Waldorf, the curmudgeonly Muppets. “I thought it was a funny comparison,” he laughs. “Importantly, for the late Terry O’Sullivan, I put a bit of felt on his head because Terry actually had great hair.”
In the news
Before law school, Fruitman travelled around the South Pacific, picking up odd jobs. Just before Christmas in 1997, he hit the streets of Sydney, Australia, to sell foam reindeer antlers on behalf of a local charity. The Sydney Morning Herald printed this photo of Fruitman in action. When looking at the image today, he says, “It makes me feel young.”
In memory of
Before his mother-in-law passed away, she started to work on this painting of Fruitman paddle boarding at the family cottage. Although she never finished the piece, it’s a particularly special item at his office.