Lawyers in the field // News

A Toronto team heads to Spain to play soccer against lawyers from around the world

By Precedent

On Tuesday June 3rd, 2008


Map of Spain

Canada is famous for many things, but soccer isn’t one of them. So when a team of Toronto lawyers takes the field in Alicante, Spain, this June for the 14th annual Mundiavocat — the World Cup of soccer for lawyers — they will be playing for more than just another trophy.

“We get no respect,” says Rick Lamanna, a corporate immigration lawyer at Greenberg Turner, who is on the team’s executive committee. “Because we’re from Toronto, nobody thinks we’re any good, which isn’t true at all.” In fact, the team, made up of law students, associates, and several partners, includes a number of provincial league players. But they’re competing against teams from “European countries that live and breathe soccer,” says Lamanna. Still, it’s an opportunity to meet, play, and network with hundreds of lawyers from around the world.

It’s also an opportunity to see how the other half lives. The Europeans think the North Americans are workaholics. Off the field, Lamanna says, they ask if he works all the time. “I think our work style’s a bit foreign to them.”

Less time in the office means more time on the soccer pitch, so competition is stiff. At the last tournament two years ago, the Toronto squad ranked 41st out of 47 in the tournament. “We had three wins and four losses,” says Lamanna, but three of those losses came early, blocking their chances of moving up the rankings.

It’s a lesson they haven’t forgotten: with nearly three-quarters of the team returning this time, preparation over the last two years has been intense. “You need to be really focused. There’s a lot to overcome, but we know what to expect now.”

How did they do? Check for an update from Rick Lamanna