A certain trial has gotten a fair amount of media attention. It involved a fallen-from-grace radio host, allegations of sexual assault, and a badass criminal lawyer. Perhaps you’ve heard of it.
I’ve read and heard everything anyone could say about this trial — from how the legal system treats sexual-assault complainants, down to the minutiae of how relatives of both the judge and defence counsel work at the same firm. We’re in on the conversation, too. See our profile of Danielle Robitaille.
The exhaustive discussion, however, has overlooked one topic: Old City Hall. Have you been there lately? Have you flashed your Law Society card, skipped security and marched up the imposing central stairs? As a field trip, I took some of the Precedent staff there to watch that trial. After a two-hour wait in the general-public line, we didn’t get into the courtroom — nor the packed overflow room. So we gave up and watched the drama on Twitter.
But the trip was eye-opening: Old City Hall is kind of terrible. There are no signs, no easy-to-find list of cases being heard and no one to ask for help. Keep in mind: I’m a lawyer. And a journalist. And I was on a “field trip” with colleagues. Most people visit court when facing charges, their futures in the balance. That’s already terrifying. Going to Old City Hall shouldn’t make it worse.
And I’m not alone in wishing the law worked better. In this issue, I’m thrilled to announce this year’s winners of the Precedent Setter Awards — six outstanding lawyers in their first 10 years of practice. Whether it’s jazzing up tax law, fighting racial profiling or running for bencher, they’re improving law with passion and new ideas.
Just so you know, I went back to court with my senior editor, Daniel Fish, on another day of the famous trial. That time, we went as accredited media. We flashed our business cards and got preferred access to the courtroom. I know, you probably want to ask me all about it. But all I want to talk about is Old City Hall.
Publisher & Editor
Post Script: We’re on Instagram!
We love paper as much as you, but we’re also just as smartphone-addicted. And that means we can’t stop eyeballing the endless stream of photos on Instagram. But we’ve noticed pop stars and athletes vastly outnumber super-awesome lawyers. To correct the imbalance, we’ve joined the photo-sharing app. Follow us at @precedentmag for our latest updates and to see some of our favourite photos.